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Weber, Ogden school districts to vote on proposed budgets, salary raises

Wednesday , June 13, 2018 - 5:00 AM1 comment

The Ogden and Weber school boards will vote this week and likely approve budgets for the upcoming fiscal year, which include salary raises. 

The school boards will also discuss and approve a finalized and adjusted budget for the current 2017-18 school year. 

Robert Petersen, Weber School District business administrator, said the $303,804,285 proposed budget calls for a 4 percent increase in teacher salaries. He will present the proposed budget to the school board at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

“The budget for the upcoming year is looking good,” Petersen said. “The Legislature appropriated a healthy amount for us.”

Although Petersen couldn’t disclose the specific amount appropriated by the Legislature, he said it was “enough to help up with that compensation.” Weber School District employees will also receive a $500 bonus in December.

With the new budget, however, also comes a tax rate increase.

Last year, voters approved a $97 million bond proposal to build two new elementary schools and upgrade a junior high school and two high schools. Because of this, the budget for the 2018-19 school year will adjust tax rates to a higher level than the certified tax rate of 0.00613 and prompt a truth-in-taxation hearing in August. The school district has yet to determine the new tax rate.

> Ogden voters turn back school bond proposal, Weber bond measure passes

“The voters approved the bond to build the schools, but we have to operate the schools,” Petersen said. “We were very transparent.”

Ogden School District’s $149,790,128 proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year also calls for an increase in salaries for teachers. 

Zane Woolstenhulme, Ogden School District business administrator, said district personnel will see an average increase of 4 percent in their pay. He said the school district is able to do this through the money appropriated by the Legislature and through adjustments made at the school district.

Woolstenhulme said that due to the decline in enrollment at the school district, nine teaching positions and a principal position were eliminated for the upcoming school year. These positions were open in part due to retirements and transfers.

Ogden schools usually hire about 80 teachers per year, but Woolstenhulme said this year the number of new hires is also lower.

The new proposal also accounts for about $350,000 of the second phase of the school district’s textbook adoption and for construction projects, such as the Ben Lomond High School gym. For that project, the school district will borrow $26 million through a lease revenue bond.

> Ogden School Board approves $26M bond, moves forward with Ben Lomond upgrade

Woolstenhulme said the taxable value of properties within the school district will increase by 13 percent, creating a potential decrease in the local tax rate. However, he said he is proposing to keep the same tax rate as last year — 0.008754 — since it could generate enough money to help pay for some other projects.

The Ogden School Board will vote on the proposed budget Thursday at 6 p.m.

“We do anticipate that the district will end up the year in a better financial position,” Woolstenhulme said. “The school district has taken into account the loss of revenue in the reduction of students and has made budget adjustments based on that.”

Contact education reporter Sergio Martínez-Beltrán at smartinezbeltran@standard.net or 801-625-4274. Follow him on Twitter @SergioMarBel and like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/STANDARDEXSergio.

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