Park City School District to hold public meeting on next year’s budget |

Park City School District to hold public meeting on next year’s budget

The Park City School District is holding a public hearing June 16 to hear public comment on the revised budget for fiscal year 2014-2015 and the tentative budget for fiscal year 2015-2016.

Todd Hauber, business administrator for the Park City School District, said one of the key elements of next year’s budget is money included for 8.5 additional teachers (full-time equivalents) to keep class sizes stable despite enrollment growth. Hauber said those costs are anticipated to be just more than $1 million and will be paid for by both a rise in property tax revenue due to growth in the area and the Utah State Legislature increasing the weighted pupil unit, which is the unit the state uses to fund public education.

Hauber said the district will also be spending additional money as a result of salary negotiations between the district and licensed employees, classified employees and administrators. As of press time, details of the compensation packages were not available, so Hauber said the district has used a "place holder" figure of an additional $1.5 million for budgetary purposes.

All together, the additional teachers and salary increases are expected to cost the district just more than $2.7 million, according to the tentative budget.

"The added teachers and the compensation package are the two big-ticket items when you look at the budget," Hauber said. "That represents almost all of the additional spending that will come."

The district’s budget is also affected by laws passed during the recent Utah State Legislative session. Lawmakers raised the basic school levy by 24 percent, which amounts to an estimated $4 million for the district. However, Hauber said, none of that money will be spent on Park City students but instead equalized among the state’s less wealthy districts.

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Hauber said the district will also send nearly $500,000 to charter schools throughout the state as a result of recent legislation.

Those expenditures account for the nearly $4.3 million revenue increase shown in the tentative budget.

"It hasn’t been that the school board chose to raise taxes or do something under its authority," Hauber said. "This is all legislative action."

A document included with the tentative budget also shows how much residents can expect to pay in property taxes. Taxes the district imposes on a $550,000 home are expected to be slightly lower than last year — about $1,440 — despite the 24-percent increase from the equalization bill. Hauber said that is a result of an expiring bond, which reduces the tax burden on a $550,000 home by about $89.

The budget has also been affected by the district’s ongoing master-planning process that could result in extensive modifications to the high school and a new elementary-level school, among other projects. Hauber said he expects about $18.6 million left in the capital fund for those projects — which may not cover the total costs — including $500,000 in reserve money.

Last year, the district was criticized by some for not having a sustainable budget when it raised property taxes. Hauber said addressing those concerns has been a priority throughout the year, and it is reflected in the tentative budget.

"At this point, I would say the district is in a good financial position," he said.

The public hearing June 16 is set for 6 p.m. at the district office. The Board of Education is scheduled to vote on the budget following the hearing.