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BOE Votes to Apply Certified Tax Rate, Lowers Tax Rate

In a good faith effort to remain transparent, it’s important to know during the November elections, residents will be asked to vote on a state-supported voted levy program.

What’s the difference between a bond and a levy? In addition to the revenues allowed by the state funding formula, school districts may receive additional revenues with a voter-approved local levy. A levy vote provides money for learning; a bond vote provides money for buildings -- levy = learning; bond = building.

For the voted local levy, Zions Bank has calculated that the average homeowner will pay an additional $9.17 per month based on a $200,000 home, the average home value within Tooele County School District. There will be an increase of $16.67 per month for businesses.

The silver lining is that if the levy is passed, it will be equalized by the State, guaranteeing funding. The State will match 92 cents to every dollar.

The Tooele County School District’s current levy is at .000600, the State’s maximum guarantee amount is set at .001600. For every .000100 of Voted Local Levy implemented by the District, the State Guarantees that the District will receive for FY18 $39.68 per weighted pupil unit.

What does this mean? If the voted levy passes, the School District would receive an additional $7,748,939 of funding -- $4,040,047 would be from local funding, and $3,708,892 would come from State funding.

If the levy is approved by voters the additional funding is expected to be used on increased wages with a goal of starting teachers at $40,000 and continuing to increase veteran teachers’ salaries. The Board of Education has not officially declared how the additional funding will be distributed yet.

“Focusing on Teacher salaries was the Board’s main priority for the 2016-2017 school year,” said Maresa Manzione, Tooele County School District Board of Education president. “There is a legitimate concern for the teacher shortage occurring in Utah. We want to retain the great teachers we already have and encourage new teachers to come and be part of our community.”

To begin the process of increasing teacher wages, the school district raised new teacher salaries to $37,000 for FY 2017-2018.

During the November election, the ballot will ask voters to authorize the tax increase, identifying the tax impact of approving the additional levy. If it passes, the District will be able to implement the increased levy in the next fiscal year and begin receiving additional State funding. Let’s work together for the one profession that creates all professions.