WASHINGTON TERRACE — The Weber School District Board of Education voted Wednesday to approve the district’s tentative budget for 2019–2020.
The board also voted to renew the contract of Superintendent Jeff Stephens for two years.
No one signed up or asked to speak at the public hearing on the budget.
“We have great financial stability,” said Robert Petersen, the district’s budget administrator. “We’re in strong financial shape. The rating agencies ... give us high ratings.”
The district’s total revenue is about $302.5 million, including local, state and federal sources.
Petersen said the bulk of the district’s maintenance and operation expenses — $155 million out of $215 million, or 72% — go toward instruction. That’s higher than the state average of about 68%.
About 90% of maintenance and operations expenses go toward compensation — of teachers as well as school and district administrators, district employees, maintenance and custodial staff, and transportation staff.
District administration and staff make up 2% of maintenance and operation expenses.
Some changes in the budget include new full-time office aides for five elementary schools ($119,043), part of a five-year process of placing full-time aides in elementary schools.
A new equity specialist will start with the district this coming school year. The district will also invest in district-wide equity training. The new staff member and the training will cost $250,000.
The average home in the county is worth $306,000 in taxable value (lower than market value), which means that the average homeowner pays $1,029 in taxes toward education each year, including both state and local taxes, Petersen said.
Of the total $1,029 in taxes, $280 would go toward the basic state levy and $12 would go toward the charter school levy, both of which are set by the legislature, which means the school board has no control over them.
The district is growing steadily, Petersen said. The enrollment in 2018–2019 was 32,171.
In 2019–2020, Petersen predicts the district will be up 400 students or more, though this depends on charter school enrollment.
Petersen said it’s helpful to understand the source of the district’s funds when looking at the budget.
“State dollars are 82% of our entire budget,” Petersen said. “So that’s why what happens at the legislature every year is very important. Federal dollars are about 5.6% of the operating budget.
“A lot of times people out there think the federal government is just a big player,” Petersen continued, “but they really are not.”
Almost all of capital outlay funds, however, are local. The district’s bond projects to build or improve facilities fall under this category.
The 2019-2020 budget provides for the compensation packages negotiated between the Weber Education Association and the district. Members of the Weber Education Association ratified the negotiated agreement in May.
The compensation package for teachers, education support professionals and administrators includes a 5% increase in the base salary ($5.9 million), fully funded steps and lanes ($807,000), no insurance premium rate increase and an increase in the HSA contribution of $200 for couples, families and singles ($282,472).
“This 5% is the biggest percent increase in base salaries we’ve had for a long time,” Petersen said.
A new teacher in 2008-2009 made $33,649. A new teacher in the upcoming school year will make $42,470, about a $2,000 increase from the starting salary in 2018–2019.
Top-paid teachers with master’s degrees in the district make $74,639.
Before approving the budget, the board voted to ratify these contracts.