Granite schools will cut staff to make up budget deficit
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Granite School District officials will cut administrators, secretaries and other middle managers in order to balance its upcoming budget.

Board members voted Tuesday night to make the cuts in personnel so that about $500,000 could be cut from the 2013-14 budget, said district spokesman Ben Horsley.

The district did not have information on the number of people who would lose jobs; those decisions will be made in the coming weeks, Horsley said.

"We're doing the best we can to get the best bang for our buck," said board member Sarah Meier.

State lawmakers voted this year to increase per pupil spending by 2 percent, but in many cases, such as Granite, much of that increase will go toward covering retirement costs, said Horsley.

To deal with the federal Affordable Care Act, the district has already told hundreds of classified employees, such as bus drivers and teachers aides, that they will have to work 29 hours a week instead of 30. By January 2014, employers with more than 50 workers must offer health insurance to those working 30 or more hours a week.

The 67,000-student district has negotiated with the unions for teachers and classified employees, who will receive a .33 percent cost-of-living increase.

The $500,000 shortfall is a relatively small amount compared with the district's overall operating budget this school year of $448 million.

Sixty-two percent of the operating fund comes from the state, while 26 percent comes from property taxes, 10 percent from federal and 2 percent from local.

Like most districts, 88.9 percent of operating fund goes toward salaries and benefits.

The board chose not to raise taxes to make up the $500,000 gap. Granite property taxes remain lower than neighboring districts — the Nebo district's tax on a home valued at $250,000 is $1,322; for Granite the tax on the same home is $985.

The tentative budget will be available Wednesday on the district website: www.graniteschools.org.

Also Tuesday night, the Davis School District passed its tentative $539 million 2013-14 fiscal year budget.

It calls for no tax increase and includes funding for a salary schedule that will grant teachers a bonus depending on their skills and experience.

In addition, there will be a 2 percent cost of living adjustment for classified employees and a 1.5 percent increase for administrative personnel.

The lone "no" vote was cast by board member Peter Cannon, who explained he wasn't voting against the budget, but believed the school board should hold a public hearing two weeks before considering the tentative budget. The board, as required by law, held a public hearing before approving the budget Tuesday evening.