The Salt Lake City Board of Education will hold a public hearing tonight and is scheduled to take action on a $163.2 million budget proposal, which includes a property tax hike and $8.2 million to air-condition high schools.
The proposed 1998-99 budget, which takes effect July 1, represents an $18.5 million, or 12.5 percent, increase from the current year. More than half of the budget would fund salaries.District officials had predicted a $1.50 property tax cut for the owner of a $100,000 home, as revenues had been exceeding district ex-pen-ditures.
But a recent judgment requires the district to refund $2 million in property tax to US WEST, Gary Harmer, district business administrator, said today. That will add $9.34 to the property tax on a $100,000 home, bringing the total to $334.23.
The district for two years has set aside funds to implement air conditioning. East, Highland and West high schools will be the first to be cooled, perhaps by next spring. The project begins this summer.
A lack of air conditioning in all but nine of the district's 36 schools incited public outcry last fall, when some classroom temperatures neared the 100-degree mark, making some teachers and students sick.
Since, the school board has voted to seek bonds, tentatively in May 1999, to cool all schools by 2006 and speed up ongoing retrofits for a 2008 completion. Proposed school bond dollars are unspecified, but talks have centered around $90 million, to be repaid without increasing taxes.
The budget proposal also sets aside $7.6 million for a new northwest area elementary school and nearly $1 million for structural replacements at Whittier, Franklin and Riley elementaries and to retrofit Jackson Elementary School.
About $63,000 is earmarked for future air conditioning at Ensign, Hawthorne, Uintah and Washington elementary schools. About $610,000 would upgrade the West High ball fields and build a soccer field at the Horace Mann property southwest of the school. The school board in March voted to allow West to use the four acres.
The budget proposal also includes a 4.5 percent increase in per-pupil expenditures to $3,488, keeping the district in the state's upper echelon for pupil spending. The district last fall also obtained a federal poverty grant, which will allocate $1.6 million over the next five years to help low-income students in targeted areas.
School budget - Salt Lake City District
Total budget: $163.2 million
Total budget: $144.7 million
Where it comes from:
State funds: $ 69.2 million
Local taxes and fees: $ 69.3 million
Federal funds $ 12.2 million
Where it goes:
Instruction: $ 96.7 million
Support services $ 37.8 million
Capital projects $ 23.7 million
Debt service: $ 5 million
District valuation $ 10.1 million
Total tax rate: .006077