Approval of a 2 mill property-tax increase in the Tooele School District would raise $254,000 locally and entitle the district to an additional $107,000 in state funds. The average cost to the owner of a $70,000 home would be $16.80 per year.
The tax-leeway question will be on Tooele County ballots Nov. 6.The money would hire additional teachers, aides, part-time instructors, interns and subject specialists, said Tooele Superintendent Michael G. Jacobsen. The district is acting on a legislative measure enacted last winter urging districts to raise mills for classroom size reduction.
The Tooele Board of Education originally voted to impose the 2-mill tax without voter authorization, as allowed by the legislation. However, local taxpayers gathered signatures in excess of 10 percent of the county's voters, enough to force a vote on the levy.
Jacobsen said there has been little discussion of the proposed levy in the pre-election debates. He fears that a general anti-tax mood, however, could defeat the measure, even though "it doesn't cost much and would be good for kids."
Tooele qualifies for a state match because, based on the district's assessed valuation of $635 million, a mill of property tax does not raise an amount equal to $20 per child, he said.
While class sizes in the district are not as high as in some other Utah areas, there are some classes and some subject areas that would benefit by the additional tax money, Jacobsen said.
If voters approve the levy, district officials say they would put $246,000 into salaries for additional school workers and $115,000 into benefits and support services.