South Summit School District votes to raise taxes to increase employee salaries
It has been almost a decade since the South Summit School District raised taxes. This year, the district is breaking the streak.
The South Summit Board of Education recently approved an $18 million operating budget and, with it, a tax increase that is expected to generate about $407,000. Kip Bigelow, business administrator of the district, said that the tax increase amounts to $40.39 annually on a residence valued at $365,000.
The tax increase is funding a 4 percent increase on all district employees’ salaries, as well as a 1 percent bonus.
“We are trying to get our salary schedule so that it is competitive with other districts,” he said. “We knew we would have to increase to stay competitive.”
With the raises, Bigelow said that South Summit is now more comparable to districts in the surrounding Wasatch and Morgan counties. Teachers starting in some larger districts in those counties are paid $43,000, he said. South Summit will now have a starting pay of $41,000.
The funds will also help cover a 4.9 percent increase in health insurance premiums, Bigelow said. Plus, the district added some teaching and transportation positions to keep up with student growth.
The district’s population in the most recent school year was 4.86 percent more than the previous school year, and Bigelow predicts that the upcoming school year will see an increase of about 5 percent as well. The district plans to host a truth in taxation meeting on Aug. 14 at 6 p.m. to receive public comment about the tax increase. There were no significant changes to the capital budget, Bigelow said.
Bigelow added that the Board is still considering putting another bond measure on the ballot in 2019 after a prior bond was voted down last fall. It is currently discussing the master plan and how funds from a bond would be best used.
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The Park City Board of Education is on track to place a bond on the ballot this fall to improve district facilities. The top priorities would be to put ninth grade in the high school, eighth grade in the middle school and to augment preschool offerings by expanding elementary schools.