Murray citizens deserve the full benefit of the tax break.
With that reasoning, the Murray School Board of Education voted unanimously to approve a 1994-95 budget that included a $1.63 tax reduction per household with an average home valued at $75,000.While the tax return is not a significant amount, "the spirit of reducing taxes is a good sign in this day and age," said Superintendent Ronald L. Stephens. "It helps maintain a trust with the taxpayer."
The biggest portion of the spending - $21.8 million - goes toward school system maintenance and operations. About 80 percent of that amount pays teachers' salaries.
Murray District is one of the first districts to negotiate contracts with their teachers. Teachers will receive a 4.4 percent increase for the 1994-95 fiscal year.
Stephens is pleased that negotiations went smoothly. "We wanted to give an increase to teachers that was above the cost of living. It helps morale immensely and sends a signal they are valued," he said.
The superintendent recently chaired a governor's committee that evaluated teachers' salaries. Studies showed that Utah teachers were paid far less than other comparable professions in the state requiring a bachelor's degree.
Board Member Bruce Cutler suggested that because the school district's tax rate was significantly below the certified tax rate, the district could shift some of the savings into the capital expenditure category to prepare for building in the future. "I want us to pay as we go, and not go into debt," he said.
The board approved the change, generating $56,000 that can be used for capital projects - without increasing taxes.
The district is currently building an addition to Hillcrest Junior High School, 126 E. 5300 South, and three schools need to be reroofed. Bonnyview High School, 4984 S. 300 West, also needs to be torn down and replaced.
The school lunch fund is $1.3 million in the approved budget. There will be a slight increase in the price of school lunches. In elementary schools, the price will increase from $1 to $1.10. In junior high, lunch will increase from $1.25 to $1.35. High school lunches will go up from $1.25 to $1.50.
"Our school lunch fund has to carry its own weight," said Stephens. "We can't supplement it with tax dollars."
Overall, the superintendent is very pleased with the budget for the upcoming school year and believes the board has made wise decisions in determining where tax dollars should be spent.
District valuation $1.14 billion
Total revenues* $27.4 million
Total tax rate 0.008250
Tax decrease $1.63
(for $75,000 home)
No truth-in-taxation hearing
will be held
Estimated **from 1993-94