Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Utah school budgets cut class sizes, popular outdoor center
Education » Several districts to give raises to teachers, cut programs.
First Published Jun 14 2014 01:01 am • Last Updated Jun 17 2014 02:44 pm

What a difference a few years make.

During the depths of the economic downturn, schools in Utah and across the country slashed budgets. Teacher salaries stagnated, class sizes swelled and programs were pared in a number of school districts.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Now, as Utah districts prepare their budgets for the next school year, the outlook is significantly better.

Some, such as Granite, still face tight budgets. As a result, Granite hopes to raise taxes slightly and shutter its popular Mill Hollow Outdoors Education Center program.

Others, however, such as Salt Lake City, are seeing budget savings, allowing them to achieve long-time goals such as lowering class size.

The Utah Legislature’s increases in the state’s base per pupil spending, known as the weighted pupil unit, have helped districts, said Bruce Williams, state associate superintendent. The budgets for many across the state are likely stabilizing, he said.

Below are the highlights — and in some cases, the low spots — of budgets for larger area school districts.

Salt Lake City » Leaders of the 24,000-student district expect to have an additional $6.8 million as a result of reduced debt service payments.

They could have lowered taxes by about $31 a year per $100,000 of a home’s value. Instead, the district’s board decided to fund items high on district leaders’ and parents’ wish lists, including lowering class sizes.


story continues below
story continues below

The board decided at its June meeting to decrease class sizes, give the most experienced employees a 1 percent raise and pay teachers for training days.

They want to reduce class sizes to 25 students in grades K-3 (down from a current goal of 25.65 in grades 1-3). And they want to reduce class sizes in grades 4-12 to a goal of 28 kids per class. That would be down more than half a student in grades 7-12 and down more than two students in grades 4-6.

The board will hold a truth-in-taxation hearing in August to finalize the budget because the district decided not to use the extra $6.8 million to lower taxes.

The board also decided, in May, to roll nearly $20,000 that used to be paid to Superintendent McKell Withers in the form of an annuity and bonuses into his base salary instead.

Granite District » Increases in state funding weren’t enough to cover all of the 68,100-student district’s costs for next school year. That means, among other things, it’s looking to cut at least one program and raise taxes.

The district is proposing a 2.7 percent property tax increase — a jump that would mean about an additional $25 a year on a home valued at $250,000.

The district also plans to cut its Mill Hollow Outdoor Education Center program. For decades, students have visited Mill Hollow in the Uinta Mountains to learn more about nature and the outdoors. Lawmakers, however, decided in recent years to no longer allow school districts to impose property tax levies for recreation, and funding for the center has been drying up since then, said Ben Horsley, district spokesman.

Closing it should save the district about $350,000 a year, Horsley said, though it will still pay about $150,000 a year to maintain the facilities, under its agreement with the U.S. Forest Service.

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.