WASHINGTON TERRACE -- Homeowners in the Weber School District boundaries will see property taxes increase an average of $42 a year.
The school board adopted a property tax rate that will increase taxes by that amount on an average Weber County home valued at $193,000.
The tax hike comes after the school districts' budget was cut by $12 million over the last two years, said Robert Petersen, the district's finance director.
"The board didn't want to do a tax increase and tried to hold it down as much as possible."
The district last raised taxes in 2001, when rates were raised about $30 on the average home.
Petersen said about 50 people attended the truth-in-taxation hearing last month, which he sees as a sign that residents feel OK about the increase.
"They had a packed house in Davis County," he said regarding a similar hearing there. "The public does have to help educate our kids."
He noted that the board has tried to keep things lean and cut as much as it could before it decided to raise taxes.
In the spring, the district cut three professional development days for teachers starting this year and also cut step wage increases for teachers.
Petersen said teachers have up to 20 step increases during their teaching tenure with the district and can get a small step increase each year.
But that won't happen this year with the cuts. There will also be no across-the-board raises.
"We are basically freezing salaries," Petersen said.
Even with the cuts, the district still needed to come up with a little more than $2.7 million.
"No one likes to raise taxes, but when the burden is so significant, it's what we have to do," Petersen said.
About $12 of the tax hike was out of the board's control because of a change in the tax law, he said.
Residents will see the tax hike on their 2010 property tax statements, he said.
Petersen said the district still has the second-lowest tax rate out of the 15 districts along the Wasatch Front. Its rate is lower than Ogden, Davis and Box Elder districts, he said. "We just needed help to plug the budget shortfall."