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FARMINGTON — The Davis School District's Board of Education approved a 7 percent tax increase Tuesday that would generate $8.5 million to help plug a gaping budget hole and help decrease class sizes.
"We had about an $18.7 million challenge that we were facing this year," said district spokeswoman Shauna Lund.
The tax increase would work out to be $60 in additional annual property taxes on a $200,000 home.
We had about an $18.7 million challenge that we were facing this year.
–district spokeswoman Shauna Lund
Lund said the budget gap for the 2011-12 school year stems from a variety of increased costs. About $4.5 million results from increasing employee insurance costs, $5.2 million comes from funding teacher raises, $3 million is from the restoration of two furlough days the district took last year, $2 million is needed to fund the influx of 900 new students, and $1.2 million to fund the opening of a new junior high school.
The board trimmed more than $12 million from the budget by using one-time federal funds, new state revenue and requiring employees to shoulder $3.6 million of their increased insurance costs, Lund said. All department budgets were cut by 5 percent, and paid summer preparation hours for teachers were cut by four hours.
Several residents expressed their frustration for the tax hike at the meeting, asking the board to cut programs rather than raise taxes since everyone is struggling in the current economic climate, Lund said. A few spoke in support of the measure.
Board member Peter Cannon cast the only opposing vote for the tentative budget.
As required by state law, before the tax increase can be finalized, the school board must hold a truth-in-taxation hearing in August where the public can comment.
The district imposed a tax hike last year to close a nearly $31 million gap.