On June 12, 2014 the Garfield County School Board approved the annual FY15 Budget for the 2014-2015 school year. According to Utah code 53A-19-102 local school boards are required to adopt a budget before June 22ndeach year. The budget is critical in the future planning of capital projects, staffing, programs, and curriculum in the upcoming a year. The largest budgeted item in the nearly 11 million dollar general fund is $8,486,772 for all employee salaries and benefits. With these types of expenses, you might ask where does all of the revenue come from to fund education. The first area of revenue comes from local county taxes which account for $3,136,939 in the general fund. The second revenue stream comes from State of Utah allocations totaling $7,124,810. The third line of revenue comes from the Federal Government totaling $351,390. The GCSD does not budget for Secure Rural Schools funding from the Federal Government because the funding is contingent upon Congress approving the funding each year. In 2011, all employees in the Garfield School District received a 4% cut in salaries and lost dental insurance. At that time, the District was operating at nearly ($600,000) in the negative each year. Drastic cuts occurred in 2011 in staffing, programs, and compensation benefits for all employees. Many employees lost their jobs with the existing employees being asked to take on additional responsibilities for less compensation. I am happy to report this year the District is able to restore the 4% back to salary pay scales for all of the employees. The restoration of the 4% will help the District compete for more qualified teachers in the classrooms. Garfield School District is in direct competition with other districts across the state to attract highly qualified teachers. I am very confident of the new teacher hires we have been able to recruit to the District for the 2014-2015 school year. As parents, you will notice a change in the quality of instruction the new teachers will provide to your students. The 4% restoration in the salaries has allowed the District to attract two excellent teachers back to the District who were forced to leave during the budget cuts. I would personally like to thank all of the employees who were willing to take a decrease in compensation to allow the District to become financially stable. At the end of the 2011 budget, the District was approximately $500,000 in the positive. The Garfield School District continues to be financially stable in the FY15 Budget. The voted local levy passed in November of 2013 is accounted for in the FY15 Budget. If you recall, the District assured the public at that time that $500,000 of the voted local levy money would be placed in a capital projects account to plan for construction of new elementary schools in the District. I am happy to report the FY15 Budget reflects the original commitment made to the public at that time. It is also important to note the Garfield School District will pay the last General Obligation Bond approved by the taxpayers to build Bryce Valley High School, Escalante auditorium, and the gym at Panguitch Elementary. In June of 2015, the District will have no outstanding debt for buildings or infrastructure. The Budget is available on the District web page at http://www.garfield.k12.ut.us/ please contact myself, or the Business Administrator Kevin Orton if you have any questions.
–Superintendent Ben Dalton