Senate passes bill to make school funding more equal
Published: March 11, 2013 10:34PM
Updated: March 11, 2013 10:43PM

Despite arguments that it would rob rich school districts to help poorer ones, the Senate passed a bill Monday that aims to make school funding more equal across the state.

The Senate voted 16-12 to pass SB81, sending it to the House.

The bill would freeze a state property tax rate — known as the basic rate — that normally decreases as property values rise.

That would mean more money collected by the state, then equally distributed to schools as property values rise over time.

School districts would then be required to lower one of their local property tax rates by the same amount to keep taxpayers from paying more money overall ­— unless they chose to hold truth-in-taxation hearings to keep their taxes steady.

In the end, 25 of the state’s 41 districts would end up losing money — anywhere from $30 in the Wayne District to $162,000 in Park City District — unless their local boards voted to keep that local tax steady.

Bill sponsor Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, said the bill would help districts that have high taxes but still spend less per student because they don’t have rich tax bases.

Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, however, said it would “punish people who chose to move into a school district with higher values and higher taxes because they wanted to spend more” on education.