Budget Pushback During Uintah School Board Meeting

While the Fiscal Year 2017/2018 Uintah School District budget was adopted and implemented in time for the July 1st start date, a group of Uintah County residents attended the August 9th school board meeting demanding that it be rescinded. The group, led by James G. Drollinger, believes the school district’s $80 million dollar budget needs cut as the community struggles financially during economic downturn. The Uintah School Board made their final 2017/2018 budget adoption during their June 20th business meeting. According to the meeting minutes, Board President Kevin Dickson read a statement asking for public input regarding the budget but no patron input was received. During the board’s discussion on June 20th, board member Mark Caldwell asked about a proposed budget levy at $3.5 million dollars and called it an increase in taxes. Kurt Case said he saw it differently explaining that last year the district was able to do a rebate in taxes but is unable to this year and that the debt was voted on and accepted in 2008. During the June 20th meeting, the board discussed capital outlay and the potential for future growth at length with board member Resha Bartlett opposing any raise in taxes for the struggling community. The motion to approve the budget passed with Kevin Dickson, Kurt Case, and Sarah Lamb in favor and Resha Bartlett and Mark Caldwell opposed. During the August 9th meeting, Drollinger took issue with the $3.5 million dollar levy stating that district buildings can last much longer than 40 years. After his presentation, Board President Kevin Dickson stated that while the public hearing had already taken place and the budget is already set, the feedback would be noted and utilized next year when budget meetings resume for the next fiscal year. The discussion quickly heated up as Drollinger and his supporters demanded that the budget be rescinded, emphasizing that taxpayers are suffering. Board member Kurt Case stated that it cannot be overturned and explained that he represents Uintah County voters as a whole and not all share the opinion of Drollinger. Dickson said he “will make zero apologies” for the facilities provided to the children in the district, emphasizing that they may not be the best but that he is proud of them. Business Administrator Derek Anderson stated that what is being missed is discussion the board has had involving long term planning and the potential need to shift funds to bring teachers’ salaries up. The vocal crowd quickly reacted. Superintendent Mark Dockins asked the room for civil discourse. Board member Resha Bartlett thanked those for coming and sharing their feelings and the patron input portion of the meeting was closed. 

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Kristin Baldwin

Kristin never planned to work in news radio but has thoroughly enjoyed being part of the news team at KVEL. Her love of literature and writing developed in high school which led her to study English Literature and Technical Writing at BYU. She received her BA in English from BYU in 2005 and studied at UVU in Orem for 2 semesters to become a Certified Technical Writer in 2006. Two months after completion she began her dream job of being a stay-at-home mom.  As mother of 2 energetic kids, she began writing from home for the KVEL news team in 2011 and considers it the perfect fit as a full time mom and part time writer.