Leeway vote barely passes in low turn out election
|Joan Powell signs in at the poll at the Wellington City hall on Tuesday as she prepared to vote on the Carbon School District leeway issue. The vote went the way the school district administration hoped it would with 2037 votes cast, the majority casting their ballots to approve the leeway that will give the district support for employee salaries and benefits.|
Joining it's big city cousins in the Salt Lake Valley, Carbon School District won the right to raise it's mill levy on property in the county to fund school programs and improvements on Tuesday.
The voted leeway that allows the district to raise their levy to the maximum amount was approved 1,031 to 1,006. Of the 13,085 registered voters in the county, only 2,037 voted in the election or a little over 15 percent.
The increase in the mill levy will mean the owner of a $100,000 house will pay an increase of $60-70 per year in property taxes. A business with the same value will pay about $110. It was the first voted leeway for the school district in the county since 1956.
Carbon School District's victory on the ballot parrotted balloting upstate in Utah's two largest school districts where Jordan and Granite School Districts also won. However, the money they will garner from their increase will go to very different needs than those of the local district.
Jordan and Granite will be mainly using their funds to build new schools and to operate them. Carbon School District, on the other hand, is not a growing district, but has shortfalls in funds like most districts because of the states reductions in school funding over the past couple of years as well as increases in costs.
The money will be used for a number of items including to give school employees raises and pay for health insurance cost increases, supply a special reading teacher to each elementary school, resurrect the gifted and talented program that was cut some time ago and to help reduce class sizes in the district.
Various areas of the county voted in different ways. Areas in favor of the leeway included East Carbon-Sunnyside 95-71, Castle Heights 192-95, South Price and south county 114-86, Indian Hills-Fairgrounds-Westwood 102-92 and Scofield 5-1.
Those areas voting against the leeway included Wellington 126-104, Spring Glen-Carbonville 173-124, North and Northeast Price 106-101, East and central Price 115-89 and Helper 141-105.
"We're happy it passed," stated district Superintendent David Armstrong. "The teachers worked hard in selling this election to the community to help the children and themselves."
While the money from the leeway hike will not be immediately available to the district (property taxes that are affected by it are not paid until December by area residents) the district has protocols to utilize the funds before they are available, according to the superintendent.