Granite School District approved an austere $192,663,195 budget Tuesday night, a financial plan slightly lower than the 1987-88 budget and based on a tax rate of .008970 or 44.85 mills.
Those figures actually lower the rate for the upcoming fiscal year by .00070 or .35 mills, district officials said. The decrease was made possible by a lowering of debt service payments.The slashing and cutting that has gone on in some other Utah districts this year did not occur in Granite only by virtue of the fact that the district went through that exercise last year, said Superintendent Loren G. Burton.
Those cuts included decreases in counseling services, library specialists and physical education at the elementary school level, trimming of custodial and maintenance services, elimination of sabbatical leaves and administrative education conferences and a reduction in the number of assessment tests given students.
Pupil/teacher ratios were increased last year, and this year's budget also calls for a slight increase in the number of students who will be in each classroom.
No allowance was made for teacher salary increases other than regularly scheduled lane changes and increments related to length of service and educational attainments.
For "an unprecedented third year" no increase in the value of the weighted pupil unit was added to the budget. The unit of state support now stands at $1,204 per child, and that amount has not really been achieved in the past few years because tax revenues did not support it, said Von E. Hortin, staff associate for budget development.
The money provided by legislators this winter for growth will give Granite additional funding for 1,755 new students (fewer than the number actually anticipated) and a 2-mill local incentive program will add revenue for the maintenance and operation of schools.
Hortin said the Granite budget is being seriously affected by increased costs for health insurance for district employees. Those costs have risen at a rate of 13-17 percent in recent years, and "it may be impossible in future years to cover those costs." The district allocated $10,709,000 for health insurance this year and will study the issue over the coming year.
The district expects to get a portion of $4 million that the Legislature promised schools out of any state tax surplus, earmarked for textbooks.
Nearly 85 percent of the adopted budget is allocated to maintenance and operations, with debt service 6 percent; capital outlay 4.2 percent; school lunch 3.4 percent and all other funds 1.7 percent.
The district receives 39.7 percent of its revenues from the state through the weighted pupil unit; 29.5 percent from other state programs; 24.7 percent from property taxes; 3.5 percent from the federal government; and 2.7 percent from local sources.