Saturday, September 29, 2012


With the redistricting, it may not be easy to determine which areas are covered in my district.  This map shows the district with larger print for major roads.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Space Center

I just visited the space center at Central Elementary last week.  It has been closed recently to correct some electrical problems.  It was obvious to me that students would have a lot of fun crawling through the caverns and hopefully learning something about leadership and working on a team.

I feel like the space center is an important part of Alpine District programs and I hope it reopens as soon as possible.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Alpine District Debt

The Utah Taxpayers Association compares the finances of districts across the state every year.  Alpine District is growing, and there is a need to build new schools for the 3000 new students that attended school in 2012-2013. If you look at the amount of interest paid per student, Alpine is at or below the level of most large districts in the state.

Utah School District Comparison 2010 - 2011

School Districts Enrollment Instruction Expense per student As percentage of general fund Interest on Debt per student
Salt Lake 23,960 5,124 69% 1,093
Wasatch 5,089 5,241 72% 578
Tooele 13,439 4,230 70% 429
Washington 25,671 4,341 68% 381
Ogden 12,568 3,865 53% 317
Iron 8,483 4,334 71% 293
Nebo 29,136 3,864 65% 269
Davis 66,019 4,063 70% 267
Alpine 66,044 3,878 72% 258
Uintah 6,683 4,080 65% 249
Cache 15,409 4,410 70% 237
Canyons 33,469 3,914 64% 189
Box Elder 11,187 4,083 69% 184
Provo 13,376 5,123 74% 167

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Administrative Overhead

The Utah Taxpayers association reported that Alpine School District has the lowest administrative overhead of any district in the state.  Here are a few of the comparable districts.

                                                         2010                       2011
Jordan - students                             49729                    50581
              gen admin expense      $1,909,051            $1,744,436
              admin per student               $38.39                   $34.49

Davis - students                               66019                   67736
            gen admin expense       $2,518,401             $2,553,577
            admin per student                 $38.15                   $37.70

Granite - students                            68573                   67736  
            gen admin expense       $2,909,550            $2,807,675
            admin per student                $42.43                   $41.45

Canyons - students                         33469                   33490
             gen admin expense      $2,334,128               couldn't find CAFR
             admin per student              $69.74

Alpine - students                            66044                     68233
             gen admin expense      $1,303,149              $1,234,963
             admin per student              $19.73                     $18.10

Property Taxes

There has been some confusion about property taxes over the last 5 years.  The only changes to property taxes that the school board has had an impact on occurred when voters passed the bond to fund new schools and seismic improvements to existing schools.  We had 3000 additional students last year in the district.  That is enough for 100 additional classrooms.  How could the district handle this increase without the additional schools provided by the bond?

Rob Smith made the following statement in a personal email.

Page 70 of the budget document shows what has happened since 1983.  Tax rate in 1983 was .008550.  Tax rate in 2012 is .008842.  In the last 5 years, the tax rate has gone from .007057 to .008842, which is a 25% increase in tax rate.  

Why did this occur?  Three reasons: 
1) Assessed value dropped from $18,021,423,319 to $15,360,073,341 or 17% decrease in assessed value - this pushes up the rate through the certified tax setting process to yield the same dollars as prior year; 
2) Tax rate for debt service (Voter approved) increased from .002638 to .003350 or 26% (9% net when adjusted for the decrease in assessed value listed in #1 above); and 
3) The legislature increased the basic tax rate charged by all school districts from .001250 to .001665, or a 33% increase in rate.

Student Proficiency

I am really impressed with the improvement in student proficiency that has happened in the district during the last few years.  I think that the teachers are committed to continual improvement and the students are responding to their enthusiasm.  In summary, when comparing the number of students who scored proficient in 2004 as compared to 2012

9,044 more students reached proficiency in science

3,808 more students reached proficiency in math

4,692 more students reached proficiency in language arts