OGDEN -- The Ogden School District tax increase approved by voters last month will bring the district approximately $1 million per year, but after repairs and renovations are completed on with the two swimming pools, it will cost only about $300,000 to maintain the pools each year.
That leaves the question of what will be done with that extra $700,000. The short answer: No one knows for sure.
"The school board cannot tie the hands of a future school board," said district business administrator Eugene Hart. It will take about four years before the tax money is to a place where there will be "extra" funds from the levy. For the next two years, it will take at least $1.1 million per year to renovate each pool, but that amount isn't set in stone.
The district will "float" the pools at Ogden and Ben Lomond high schools the extra funds during the renovation years, and after that the tax levy funds will repay the district.
"We will start to recoup some of those funds by year 3, but it probably won't be until year 4 that we will just have maintenance costs," Hart said.
School Board President Shane Story said the board can't say exactly what will happen with that money, because those on the board now may not be on the board in four years. Both Hart and Story said it would be against the law to specify exactly how those funds have to be spent.
Hart said the ballot was worded carefully, so the money would be allocated to the district and not just the pools.
Story said the intent is for the money to go to the pools first, and he would like to see the other $700,000 be used for sports and recreation for the whole district. Another idea brought up is to reduce the tax levy once the pools are renovated. Both ideas would have to be drafted as a policy.
"Another board can override that policy," Story said.
The question of what will happen to the funds is exactly why resident Simon Post voted against the levy. He would like to see officials do a better a job of explaining what they want to do with the extra money for each month. Post was clear he wasn't against the pools at all, just the way the funds may be managed.
"If it is earmarked for educational purposes, why didn't they just call it that instead of masking it in this pool bond?" Post said. "Ogden School District needs to be more accountable to the taxpayers of Ogden."
Story said the board talked about asking the voters for a smaller levy so they wouldn't have the excess funds in four years, but the pools needed to be fixed now so the program wouldn't die and because the community counts on the pools.
That's why the idea of lowering the levy after a few years is on the table, but Story said the district's health and fitness programs in kindergarten through 12th grade need to be addressed as well.
"We need more health, wellness and recreation for grades K through 12. I'm not just talking about the high schools," he said.