In 2013, voters in Sevier County approved two bumps in their taxes to benefit students in Sevier School District.
The first was a $46 million bond, which has been used for several capital improvement projects throughout the district [see related story on this page].
However, the second part is a voted leeway, which can’t be used for capital improvements, but has funded other needs.
The district was able to fund four school resource officers in the district using the leeway funds.
“Talk to anyone and they will tell you that our SRO program has been a success,” Superintendent Cade Douglas said. He said having officers in the school has been a blessing, fostering a safer environment and one where students are more comfortable talking with law enforcement.
“We have students who, when they are upset, or who have seen someone doing something wrong, feel comfortable talking with our SROs,” Douglas said.
Another safety investment funded through the leeway is a complete upgrade of the district’s security camera system. More than 500 cameras, many of them with high definition capabilities, have been installed.
“Our cameras now are so much better,” Douglas said.
The leeway money has also funded technology improvements for both students and faculty. The district has purchased 1,000 computers for its various labs throughout the different schools, as well as iPads, Chromebooks and 270 desktop computers for faculty.
“It’s allowed us to start a five year replacement rotation,” Douglas said. He said most computers are nearing the end of their useful life after five years, and the current schedule will help keep the district up to date.
The district has also invested in Internet access, with some 400 wireless access ports.
In concert with the technology equipment upgrades has been training, including technology endorsements. The district has 40 teachers who have earned their endorsements, with 22 more working on them. All of the district’s principals have also earned technology endorsements.
In addition to having access to tech and learning to use it, the district also has a person in place who is charged with making sure technology is used to its maximum benefit for students, Douglas said.
The final portion of the leeway money is used to help fund operational costs of buildings.
The leeway brought in $953,127 of local tax dollars during the past fiscal year, as well as $976,843 guarantee dollars from the state of Utah.
“It is generating more than $1 from the state for every $1 that we bring in locally, which is an amazing benefit to our district,” said Chad Lloyd, business manager for the district. “Those amounts obviously vary every year a little based on our local assessed value and the guarantee rate from the state, but those are the most recently reported amounts.”