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June 22, 2022





  • JSD will hold Truth in Taxation hearing in August

By Myrna Trauntvein
TN Correspondent

The Juab School District will need to hold a Truth-In-Taxation Hearing so the district will have funds needed to increase teacher pay, reduce class sizes, add additional classroom space, increase health premiums and pay for increased fuel prices.

“It will be held in August,” said Darin Clark, CPA and district business administrator.

A public hearing was held by the Juab School District to discuss and gain public input from those interested for the 2022-2023 proposed budget and the 2021-2022 final budget.

However, there were no persons attending for the purpose of commenting on the budget.

Dale Whitlock, board president, opened the public hearing and then turned the time to Clark for the presentation.

“Personnel costs account for about 88 percent of the general fund budget expenditures,” said Clark. “We have 425 employees that include 191.75 full-time equivalents (FTEs) that are contract employees. Of the 191.75 FTEs, 130.25 are teachers, 49.5 are classified employees and 12 are school or district administrators.”

Juab School District has approximately 425 employees and most are paid from the general fund.

The general fund receives revenue from the state and federal governments.

“This year, we received a 6 percent increase in the WPU (Weighted Pupil Unit),” said Clark.

Lawmakers approved the 6 percent increase to the WPU which is the base amount of funding allocated per student enrolled and the most flexible source of funding for schools. That’s one of the largest percentage jumps since 1990. Each WPU has a value, which may change from year to year.

The Utah State Legislature meets annually from mid-January to mid-March to determine levels of education funding, among other areas of the state budget.

“We also saw additional increases in restricted programs,” said Clark. “The district anticipates continued growth in WPUs.”

The American Rescue Plan Act, passed on March 11, 2021, provided $122.7 billion in supplemental grants to schools through ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) grant funding throughout the state and Juab School District received a grant.

“The bulk of that will benefit us in fiscal year (FY) 2023,” said Clark.

State law mandates that all property is subject to taxation unless otherwise exempted. Clark showed board members a cartoon of two people on a seesaw to illustrate the way property tax is determined. The high person on the seesaw represented valuation and the low person on the seesaw represented rates.

Valuation x rate = property tax, said Clark. Property taxes are based on the market value of property. The value of new construction is added to the existing improvement assessed value.

The certified tax rate that is established by the Utah Tax Commission’s Property Tax Division is that rate which will yield the taxing entity the same property tax revenue that it collected in the previous year (and includes an allowance for revenue generated from real new growth in its tax base).

That determination is based on a comparison of an entity’s proposed tax rate with its certified tax rate.

“We have allowed the rate to float down in the past,” Clark said.

The combined rate consists of basic state (M&O), voted leeway (M&O), board local levy, charter school levy, capital outlay and debt service. The total combined rate for Juab School District will decrease and the total property tax revenue will increase due to increase in valuation.

“Therefore, a Truth-In-Taxation Hearing will need to be held,” said Clark.

FY 2020 JSD Assessed Valuation was $1,025,323,535; for FY 2021 it was $1,274,911,838; FY 2022 it was $1,3000,678,057; and for 2023 will be $1,542,836,785.

“The total combined rate for Juab School District will decrease,” Clark said. “The total property tax revenue will increase due to increase in valuation and that will require a Truth-In-Taxation hearing in order to gain public approval for allowing the tax rate to remain the same.”

The additional funds raised will be used to increase teacher pay (beginning teacher pay in JSD is currently second to last in the state); decrease and maintain class size by hiring four additional teachers; additional classroom spaces; 21 percent increase in health care premiums; increase in transportation fuel costs.

“The general fund budget for 2022-2023 fiscal year includes funding of step and lane increases,” said Clark. “It includes a professional staff salary increase of 3 percent on base plus $1,200, a classified staff wage increase of $1 per hour on each step, four new teaching positions, a 21 percent increase in health insurance and an increase planned in transportation due to fuel costs.”

The school activity fund budget totals $1.25 million for all schools, with the high school accounting for just over half of the total and the fund accounts for individual school revenue and expenses.

He said that $780,000 is budgeted to run non K-12 programs that include athletics and other extra-curricular activities, pre-school and adult education.

In the debt service fund, $2 million has been budgeted to pay bond principal and interest plus miscellaneous fees related to bond compliance and reporting and $125,000 has been budgeted for technology.

“The 2022-2023 capital outlay budget includes the following:” said Clark. “Completion of the Hive project, $500,000 for a new bus compound, $850,000 debt service payments on outstanding revenue bonds, and $600,000 in equipment, supplies and instructional technology.”

The district has had free school lunch because of Covid, said Clark. However, that is now ending.

“We have budgeted $1.5 million to run the school lunch program,” Clark said.

Revenues include Federal National School Lunch Program, student and other sales and state program funds.

“Expenditures are 60 percent food and related purchases, 38 percent personnel and 2 percent equipment and indirect costs or overhead,” Clark said.

Linda Hanks, board member, made the motion to move from the public hearing, Tracy Olsen, board member, made the second and all voted in favor.