The rapidly growing district that includes Wasatch High School, two middle schools, and five elementary schools plans to spend more than $135 million in the next fiscal year, which ends in June 2023. That’s a projected increase of 5% from his expenses this year.
At a school board meeting last week, business administrator Keith Johansen said much of the increased spending would be used to boost teachers’ salaries.
Next year’s budget allocates a total of $56.5 million for salaries. This is an increase of $5 million, or 10% more than last year.
Next year, the employee benefits budget will increase by $3.5 million or 13%. Johansen said that’s partly because health insurance premiums have jumped more than 20%, which he called the budget’s “biggest challenge.”
At the meeting, Wasatch High School teacher Drew Camps-Wofford thanked the board for the raises.
“I can’t imagine being anywhere other than Wasatch High School, or in the district as we continue to grow,” she said. “This will be my fifth year. My salary has increased by $20,000.
Others who spoke at the meeting, including music teachers and parents, expressed concerns about the future of music programs in the district.
Allan Gale said that after some music teachers left, others struggled to teach additional students. He feared it would happen again soon.
Board member Kim Dickerson told Gale the board plans to hire a new music teacher.
Board member Cory Holmes spoke about rumors of cuts to the district’s music department.
“Many emails said we were scrapping the music program, and that was never, ever, ever, ever our intention,” Holmes said. “Even early on we were going to hire more. We thought it might be a good idea to move some people over to help build the program from the ground up. We heard you loud and clear – you didn’t didn’t like it, so we’re going to take a break on that and we’re going to hire that teacher.
The proposed budget is more than $30 million higher than the district’s budget two years ago, a 32% increase.