It’s Budget Season For Wasatch And Summit County School Districts

School kids are out of classes for the summer, but school administrators are hard at work on the budget. Its required that preliminary budgets are made available to the public before budget hearings occur. There are a few regulations districts have to follow before a budget is finalized.

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When a school district adopts a budget prior to June 29, technically, it is still a preliminary document because they don’t have final numbers from the county assessor’s office or from the state. County Auditors are not obligated to have assessed property valuations until June 8th. Park City School District Business Administrator, Todd Hauber says they received preliminary budget approval on May 22nd during the budget hearing but there are pieces of financial information they won’t have until later in June.

“There might be, you know, a flurry of information. Park City’s assessed valuations went up a billion dollars from last year. You know, those types of things start to leak out when you get past like June 8th. For school districts, there’s the basic levy which is set by the state legislature. We won’t know the actual rate until this whole county assessor process ends. And, they are obligated to release that by June 22. So that becomes another red-letter day.”

The Park City School District is planning a $5.7 million tax increase this year which will cost about $11.00 in $100,000 valuation. So, they’ll hold a truth in taxation hearing later this summer. It can’t be held until tax notices are mailed to property owners which Hauber says the Summit County Assessor plans to send around the last week of July.

“We can’t hold our truth in taxation hearing earlier than 10 days after those notices are mailed. So, typically that timing works out to be about sometime after the 5th to the 9th of August. We’ve actually gone ahead and coordinated with the county auditor we want to hold our meeting on August 20th. The South Summit School District Board of Education is considering a $75 million-dollar bond initiative for this November’s ballot. They do not plan to increase taxes for the 2019/2020 school year. Superintendent Shad Sorenson says their budget hearing is scheduled June 26.

“Our board meeting is on the 13th and he’s hoping to have a good share of the information ready for the board. So, they have from 13th to the 26th so if they have any questions resolved and be prepared for questions they may be asked during the public hearing, etc.”

The Wasatch School District Board of Education voted unanimously to approve a $45 million tax increase last year. Their budget hearing is June 20th according to Wasatch School District Director of Operations, Shawn Kelly.

The school board approved a $150 million-dollar bond proposal last month. The money would fund a second-high school in the district and a new middle school in Midway. The school board must make the final decision 75 days before the election. Kelley says no decision has been made and he believes more public meetings will be held this summer.

Kelly doesn’t know if Wasatch School District has a proposed tax increase for the 2019/2020 school year. KPCW called the district for clarification and received no response.

North Summit School District is not considering a tax increase and they’re scheduled to hold a budget hearing on June 19th. They’ll approve the revised 2018/2019 budget and the proposed 2019/2020 budget.

No link to the preliminary budget could be found on the North Summit web page.

Links to the preliminary budget for Wasatch School District, Park City School District and the South Summit School District can be found on

Heber Valley Artisan Cheese held their 2nd annual Ice Sculptures Exhibition this weekend. Several local businesses sponsored the sculptures being displayed. There were also two different ice carving demonstrations. The event was free to the public.

The annual event began last year when Carolee Kohler saw ice sculpting on a Hallmark movie and thought it would be a fun idea for their farm. They are also considering a woodcarving event.

According to Lindsey Strother, social media and events coordinator, each sculpture takes between 1-3 hours to carve. “We contacted Amazing Ice Creations back in November, and we reached out to local companies to sponsor the ice sculptures,” she said. “Yesterday morning around 9 am, they came in a massive truck and dropped them all off for us, and we set them up.”

Along with the ice sculptures, sponsors receive a sign and canopy for the display and social media marketing. The sponsors decide what they want to have sculpted. After the event, they can take the ice sculptures and display them at their businesses. The creations normally last a couple of weeks. Some will be left in the field and can be viewed throughout the week.

The ice this year included Olaf, company logos, animals, and other items. Darron Kingston, the sculptor, has carved ice for over 10 years with his dad. According to Kingston, “I like sculptures that give me a challenge. Here, for example, my favorite was the lumberjack.” One of his favorite past creations was a 9-foot bear.

Grant Kohler, owner of Heber Valley Artisan Cheese, explained, “We decided to do something that was free and something that people could just get out and come and enjoy. Especially this year with Covid, it seems like Januarys are slow months. People are looking for things to be able to get outside and do.” He continued, “Businesses pay in and buy the sculptures, we have them sculpted, and then we just let people come and enjoy them.” Kohler estimated around 3,000 to 4,000 people will stop by the event.

The dairy farm also offers cheese-making classes and tours of their new robotic barn. “The tours are everyday except Sunday,” according to Kohler. “People hayride over, intermingle with the cows, see the barn and amenities, and watch the cows be milked. The cows will literally go get milked on their own.” Tickets for the tours and other events are available on the Heber Valley Artisan Cheese website: