If the pain at the pump and at the grocery store weren't bad enough, some Utahns are facing a double whammy this year as some school districts are passing on those expenses. Not so in the Jordan School District.

The district just approved a budget that includes a 5 percent cost of living increase for staff. Health insurance premiums will remain the same. In addition, the cost of breakfast and lunch for students remains steady. At least for now.

And, the certified tax rate is likely going down, said Superintendent Barry L. Newbold.

The district announced this budget information during a public hearing Tuesday.

One provision of the budget as adopted is the ability to adjust the budget to reflect any funding difference generated by the certified tax rate when it is received from the state. Newbold said it is common for that figure to come within a few days of the public hearing.

Overall, next year's projected revenue is $702.7 million. About 53 percent comes from state allocations, while local property taxes account for 41 percent. The remaining money is received from the federal government.

This year's revenue is actually less than the estimated dollars collected during the 2007-08 school year because there are no bonds to be issued. However, expenses are remaining relatively flat.

Part of the funding that allows the district to offer a 5 percent cost of living increase is received from the Legislature. Certain teachers are eligible for a $1,700 bonus.

Jordan School District has maintained fund balances in the various budget areas that has allowed it to prepare the budget. So, despite the good news about school lunches this year, deputy superintendent D. Burke Jolley said, there could be an increase next year if that fund balance drops too low.

"If the fund balance is in that same area, maybe we won't need (a tax increase) next year," said Jolley. "We'll wait and see."

Health insurance premiums are determined on an entirely different basis. Because the Jordan School District is self-insured, there is no profit margin, and the number of claims can directly impact the amount of premiums. Because utilization is down, Jolley said, premiums will remain where they are. When it is necessary to increase premiums, it is district policy to split that increase with the employees 50/50.


E-mail: amacavinta@desnews.com