Revenue is down but expenses are up.

That statement by Sevier School District accountant Patrick Wilson may not, on the outset, seem like it makes much sense, but it really does. It has to do with enrollment and the district's building construction program.The board of education has adopted a budget of $30.2 million, an increase over last year's budget of $29.5 million. The bulk of the increase is in the capital outlay fund where officials expect to spend $6.8 million during the new fiscal year as compared to $5.2 million last year. The expenditures come from bonding money for school construction.

On the other hand, overall revenue went down. The district has had a decline in enrollment and consequently is receiving less money from the state, Wilson explained. The district recorded about 170 fewer students at the beginning of the 1997-98 school year as compared to 1996-97. Enrollment at the beginning of the past school year was 4,799, Wilson reported.

The capital outlay budget is $6.8 million, but $6.2 million of that is finishing up the bonds. About $500,000 is ongoing, Wilson said.

Construction of a new middle school in Salina and renovation of the high school in Richfield are projects that are currently under way. The district is also spending money on a multi-events center in cooperation with Sevier Valley Applied Technology Center, soon to become Snow College South.

The Sevier District will spend $1.6 million for debt service this fiscal year, the money going to pay off the bonds, Wilson noted. There is also a positive note with the budget. An increase in valuation allowed administrators to pay off bonds without increasing taxes. The school tax rate will actually go down but the amount is rather minuscule, only about 1 percent.

Officials noted that plans are moving forward for class size reduction for middle schools in Monroe, Salina and Richfield. Funding will be provided by the Utah Legislature and used primarily for additional staff or extensions to reduce class sizes in all subject areas, Thorne said.

Also during the meeting, Don Naser, Richfield civil engineer, was named to the district board, filling the post vacated by Raymond Whittaker. He represents Precinct #2 in filling the term that will expire at the end of this year. Whittaker moved to Provo.