Davis County school administrators and principals will be allowed to talk about the effects of tax limitation initiatives on education as part of a public education campaign being staged by the school district.
A resolution passed by the board Tuesday night allows the district superintendent, principals and assistant principals to speak about the effects of the tax initiatives. The district could lose $17 million if the initiatives pass and they want the public to realize that. There is of particular concern in light of a recent poll that showed 60 percent of Davis County residents favored the initiatives, Superintendent Richard E. Kendell said.This year's school district budget is $140 million.
"Those of the public that feel that it is improper for administrators and the board should realize that is not part of political campaign," board member Henry Heath said. "It is not a political issue but an economic and budgetary issue. The public needs to understand what they are voting on."
Kendell said school principals need to be allowed to explain to local parent-teacher associations and the communities they serve how the tax initiatives would affect individual schools - in terms of reduced teaching force, larger classes and reduced programs.
"The board is committed to the proposition that a well-informed public will make good decisions," the resolution says.
At a public forum at Layton High School before the school board meeting, several tax-initiative supporters questioned the district's projections about the cuts.
"To every coin there are two sides. I had to manage the budget of one of the families who go through the tax increases from time to time. We had to cut our budgets in a number of way," Glen Hunt said.
Heath said it was misleading to propose that there is fat to cut in district budgets.
Besides allowing district officials to speak about the initiatives, the board plans to publish information about the initiatives along with its annual report to be mailed out in mid-September.
"It will be devastating," said Bonnie Durrance, public information officer who preparing the report. "The bottom line would be to protect the core curriculum."
Kendell has prepared a list of 26 possible cuts that in combination could add up to $17 million. Possible cuts include elimination of extra-curricular activities including athletics, kindergarten, high school lunch, driver education, adult education and special education programs. District officials have also considered eliminating all transportation services except "to and from school" buses.
Other options including cutting administrative staff at secondary schools, increasing the student-teacher ratio by one student, slashing building repair budgets by $1.5 million and eliminating 50 percent of the career ladder program. Another $1.3 million could be saved if the schools were cleaned only three days a week.
"A 27th option would be to have all of the district employees to take a 15 percent cut in pay," Durrance said.
She said the cuts would be far reaching and would be in addition to $4.6 million in cuts made up to 1986. For example, the elimination of kindergarten, reducing the career ladder program and increasing class size - all estimated to yield $2 million - only add up to $6 million in cuts.
Teachers assigned outside of core curriculum subjects would likely be hurt the most. Those assigned in areas such as music, art, drama, debate and extracurricular sports may be the first to suffer from the budget ax.