The Canyons School District recently announced that they reached a tentative agreement with the Canyons Education Association that, starting this fall, would give teachers a $7,665 salary increase. That would be a double digit percentage increase for all teachers and would set the starting salary for a teacher at $50,000 per year.
The district plans on funding the effort with a legislatively approved increase in per pupil spending and what will be a proposed increase in property taxes on property owners in the district. The district includes Cottonwood Heights, Midvale, Sandy, and Draper. The proposed increase is being reported as $144 per year on the average home value.
Two years ago, Jordan School District announced a $40,000 teacher starting salary which prompted salary wars among Wasatch Front districts. Weeks later, Canyons District announced $41,000 starting salaries, followed by Granite District at $41,500. This latest increase by Canyons is expected to start another salary war. Unfortunately, poor districts are maxed out on their tax rates and even with tax hikes could not generate sufficient revenue to compete through higher teacher pay.
Many taxpayers in Canyons District are outraged by the proposal. The $50,000 annual starting salary for 185 days of work, translates to a $70,000 starting salary for others who work the regular work year of 260 days. The new starting salary for Canyons District teachers would be $34 an hour, or $270 per day.
The Truth In Taxation hearings for the proposed increase will be held in August. As we do each year during this timeframe, your Utah Taxpayers Association is in the process of reviewing the budgets of the various counties, cities and school districts across the state to stay on top of spending trends and possible tax hikes. Stay tuned as we delve into the details and report on what we are seeing this year.