Board Discusses Bond Projects Timeline in Light of Economic Downturn
The Canyons Board of Education is discussing building schedule options for the first five bond projects after learning property values are expected to decline again this year. This would be the third consecutive year of property value declines, unprecedented in recent memory. Declining property values would impact Canyons’ ability to collect sufficient tax revenue from its existing debt service levy to pay for the principal and interest on the total amount of new bonds needed to proceed with its current timeline. The District also is legally bound to continue its payments on $213 million in old Jordan debt.
The Board noted it promised the public that its debt service levy would not be raised if voters approved the $250 million bond in June 2010, and remain committed to that pledge. In light of the financial projections, the Board discussed possible actions, including delaying all projects one year for a target fall 2014 completion and grade reconfiguration date; funding one or two projects at this time; or staying the course on all five projects in hopes of an economic rebound.
The five projects are: the rebuild of Midvale Elementary and Butler Middle School; a seismic retrofit for Sandy Elementary, a renovation of Albion Middle School and the building of a new high school in Draper. The current timeline would have the first five projects completed by fall 2013 to facilitate grade reconfiguration under the District’s career- and college-ready academic plan.
The Board will vote on the projects’ timeline in its March 1 meeting.
The Board decided not to take action on a proposed resolution to authorize the sale of $70 million in building bonds at this time.
Midvale Elementary Site Plan, New High School Design Approved
The Board voted to build a grades K-5 elementary school on the Midvale Middle School campus. The vote determines the site of the soon-to-be-rebuilt Midvale Elementary School will be on the nearby middle school campus, and allows students to remain in their current elementary school during construction. It also frees up the now vacant Cottonwood Heights Elementary School to be used to house Albion Middle School students during its extensive renovation project. The Board is expected to vote on the timeline of these projects in a March 1 meeting.
The Board also approved the design for the new high school in Draper. The design was adjusted by architects Sandstrom Associates to stay within budget and allow flexibility in academic programming. The design will allow for optional third gym, woodshop and auto shop, as well as other classrooms to be added now or later as needed. The Board also requested a committee be formed to examine career and technical education in Canyons School District.
Preschool Expansion Proposed
Early Childhood Administrator Terri Mitchell presented a proposal to expand preschool options for students in Canyons School District. The proposal follows a federal court case that requires special education preschool classes be integrated with regular-education students. Also, some parents are leaving Canyons for other school districts that offer preschool services. Preschool currently is offered to special education students at five locations, and to regular-education students at Sandy Elementary. Options include status quo; offering preschool at regionally accessible locations and add six classrooms; or putting at least one classroom in each elementary (for details, visit http://www.boarddocs.com/ut/canyons/Board.nsf/Public, and click on Study Session Item 1B). Tuition for non-disabled students largely could fund the program. The Board will discuss the proposal in a future meeting.
Three patrons offered comments to the Board regarding SALTA at Midvale Middle School and career and technical education. Their testimony is posted at http://www.boarddocs.com/ut/canyons/Board.nsf/Public (click on Feb. 15 agenda, then item 4C).
The Board approved the consent agenda, which includes: Feb. 1 minutes; purchasing bids, January financial reports; home school affidavit report; CAB cell tower lease agreement; foreign exchange students, second semester; Professional Development Academy; moratorium status for elementary schools in the 2011-2012 school year; and student overnight travel for Alta High AP Studio Art and Track & Field, CTE DECA, and the SSEP National Conference and Space Shuttle Launch.
The Board met in closed session or the purpose of discussing the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of an individual.
Vice President Sherril Taylor excused President Tracy Scott Cowdell, who was receiving the Outstanding Elected Official Award at Sandy City’s Appreciation Awards Banquet. He thanked Sandy police officers for providing Board security.Steve Wrigley attended Jordan High's concerto night and praised the talent there. He attended the Butler Middle School Town Hall Meeting on the building project, and two SALTA community meetings. He thanked the staff and parents for their attendance and feedback. He visited with the PTA and School Community Council at Oakdale Elementary and served as a substitute crossing guard. He attended an SEOP meeting with his child at Eastmont Middle School, and found it interesting to discuss ACT EXPORE Test data in that context. He also met with the Evidence-Based Learning leaders and received an orientation from them.
The Board recognized the following achievements:
Kelston Howell, Hillcrest High, Student Spaceflight Education Program logo winner
Paul Kirby, Hillcrest High, named Secondary Assistant Principal of the Year by the Utah Association of Secondary School Principals
Rebekah Meads, Brighton High, named Second Team 5A All State Volleyball
Kaitlyn Van Hoff, Alta High, named Third Team 5A All State Volleyball
Mark Michels, Alta High, 5A 135-pound All-Star wrestler
Christine Bond, Peruvian Park Elementary teacher, heard the SALTA report, and would like to pare back SALTA offerings to two, fully funded magnet programs for first- through fifth-graders, and expand the number of students accepted into the program if need be.
Julie Vandertoolen, who called herself a soccer mom and volunteer, is concerned about losing soccer fields during the reconstruction of Butler Middle School, saying the fields draw tournaments that draw thousands of students and parents and boost the local economy.
Annaje Vandertoolen, age 8, said she enjoys soccer and has a special "goal dance," which she showed an applauding Board and audience.
Jennifer Kalm, regional commissioner of AYSO soccer, feared losing field space during building construction could compromise the ability to host tournaments and diminish kids' opportunities and tourism dollars to the community.
Jill Shumway, a Cottonwood Heights resident and parent, opposes the idea of building an elementary school near Butler Middle School due to potential safety and bullying problems she said her children experienced at Cottonwood Heights Elementary. She wondered if the Butler Middle School site plan is dependent on bringing an elementary there (CFO Keith Bradford later clarified that it is not).
Chris Palmer, AYSO coach, referee and parent, suggested the Board tear down Cottonwood Heights Elementary now to ensure adequate field space during Butler Middle reconstruction.
Armen Taroian of AYSO fears losing fields during construction could negatively impact area kids' opportunities to gather and socialize with diverse students, and prefers freeing up field space before Butler's reconstruction.
John Van Leeuwen, President of Brighton Little League Football, asked the Board to consider all options for green space during construction, as the league uses the fields from July through November.
Amy Nance, whose children are involved in Brighton football and attend Butler Middle, says she doesn't feel informed as to the Board's site plan proposals. She is concerned about what will happen to field use, and wants to receive more information as the process moves forward.
Mark Hooyer, Cottonwood Heights resident, and coach of AYSO's VIP program for children with disabilities, says the reconstruction of Butler Middle and impact on adjacent fields is a community issue, as the fields are a hive of activity. He wants to minimize construction impacts on the fields.
Carla Hooyer, whose son is involved in AYSO's VIP program for children with disabilities, urged the Board to ease impact on the fields, as VIP participants have extreme difficulty adapting schedule and space changes.
Dani Jarvis, AYSO coach and referee, said she has played on the Cottonwood Heights soccer fields her whole life, and doesn't want to hurt children's opportunities to play during reconstruction. She suggested tearing down Cottonwood Heights Elementary to ensure sufficient field space during construction.
Darren Mansell, who lives near Albion Middle School, asked the Board to use Cottonwood Heights Elementary to house Albion students during their school's extensive remodel.
Mike Peterson, Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center, complimented the Board for adding to green space in the Butler Middle site plan. He asked for continued collaboration on the site plan.
Bill Wurr, a safety commissioner for Region 126 AYSO, urged the Board to keep facilities used by community children in mind as it looks to rebuilding building facilities.
Ian Van Leeuwen, Albion student, said his school overwhelmingly supports moving to Cottonwood Heights Elementary during remodeling.
Suzanne Walker, Midvale PTA President, urged the Board to keep the community informed on the progress of rebuilding plans, and noted community football fields at the middle school would need to be considered during construction.
Two other parents, representing Brighton lacrosse and Butler students, want the Board to minimize impact to the Cottonwood Heights fields during Butler construction, and suggested some neighborhood parks could be opened up for competitive play during construction.
CFO Keith Bradford reminded the Board to maintain frugal spending to stay within budget on bond projects.
Steve Wrigley attended training courses hosted by the Utah School Boards Association, and met with Peruvian Park Elementary teachers, and parents, and was impressed with programs there.
Kim Horiuchi attended the Midvale Middle School play "Once Upon a Mattress" and was impressed with the acting and scenery.
Kevin Cromar attended the Albion Town Hall Meeting and met with new Rep. Derek xx Brown, and invited him to attend town meetings and participate in partnership with district. He attended the intramurals chess tournament, which drew 46 students and several parents, and drew Channel 2 news coverage. He thanked the staff for their efforts on the tournament, and suggested adding Chinese Chess to the intramurals lineup. He cited news articles quoting former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice saying education must be reformed, and that not changing should be much scarier than change. He suggested moving more quickly in education technology initiatives.
Paul McCarty said he appreciated the Board's action tonight and the work of District staff.
Mont Millerberg praised the Board for putting education first tonight.
Ken Vance, a neighbor of the new high school in Draper, praised the partnership with Draper City and the School District to address residents' traffic concerns regarding the new high school and move the entrance on Golden Pheasant to the east. He said he is happy with the plan presented to the Board tonight.
Elisa Kelson, who lives on Golden Pheasant Drive next to the new high school, thanked the district and architects for working with neighbors to ease traffic concerns and moving the entrance to the east. She asked the Board to approve the proposal presented tonight.
The Board approved the following items on the Consent Agenda: Dec. 7 minutes; December Board Hires and Terminations; 2011-12 Large Capital Improvement Projects; Site Lease Agreement for Bella Vista Elementary; Purchasing Bids; Advanced Diploma Emphasis Proposal; and Student Overnight Travel for Brighton Dance, Student Body Officers and Choir and Band; Hillcrest Cheer; and Jordan Boys Tennis. The Board also approved the 2011-2012 school calendar recommended by the District Calendar Committee.
Dr. Dave Doty praised 37 Hillcrest students earning International Baccalaureate Diplomas who earned 5.4 million combined in scholarship money. He collected Board signatures on a letter of sympathy and support regarding the shooting death of a Millard Public Schools assistant principal in Omaha, Neb. Millard is a fellow member of the National Federation of Urban and Suburban School Districts. Dr. Doty also highlighted the Civility and Community 2011 Initiative in which he is a participant.
Mont Millerberg attended the Hillcrest High staff reunion, and praised the Utah School Boards Association Convention and training sessions. He congratulated Board leadership for their successful election, and thanked the District Calendar Committee for its work.
Paul McCarty, a 37-year educator, said he's never seen a District collaborate with communities as much as Canyons has on the new high school plans. He commended Dr. Doty, Facilities Director Rick Conger, CFO Keith Bradford, and the Communications staff for their work in that regard.
Sherril Taylor thanked District staff and Sandstrom and Associates for excellent outreach to patrons in drafting plans for the new high school.
President Cowdell thanked Sandy Police officers for providing Board Meeting security. He congratulated Board Vice President Taylor for his successful leadership election and the Board for re-electing him as president, saying he was humbled by the Board's trust.
Kevin Cromar attended the USBA convention and was elected delegate at large. He attended the Town Hall meeting for the new Midvale Elementary and the first Face to Faith video conference between Brighton High and a school from India. He also attended: holiday open houses hosted by the Region 17 PTA and Sandy City; the Granite Elementary Christmas Choir concert; a Sandy Elementary event where children received donated Teddy bears; the announcement that Hillcrest students' science project was selected to fly aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour; and a Native American/Veterans honors event. He wants to look into having more elementary schools take recess before lunch as a health measure. He noted Brighton swimmer Amanda Barrett was spotlighted in the Deseret News.
Kim Horiuchi praised ideas presented at the USBA Convention.
Steve Wrigley thanked the voters in District 5 for giving him the opportunity to serve. He promised to listen to constituents. He thanked Board members for reaching out to him and staff for working with him.
Melissa Kimmel of South Park Academy, who was named an Outstanding Paraeducator by the Utah State Office of Education for tutoring, guiding and mentoring inmates working to complete their high school education
The Jordan High School Football team, which to the 5A State Football Semifinals
The Board also recognized the following winners, finalists and participants in the national Student Spaceflight Experiments Program:
Keltson Howell, Megan Dolle, and Nikos Liodakis, Hillcrest High, "Microgravity's Effects on Morphagens in Common Species," whose experiment will fly on the Space Shuttle Endeavor this spring. Teacher facilitator: Jonathan Miller.
Brighton High: Weihsuan Li and Emerson Evans, "The Study of Development of Antibiotic-Resistance in Bacteria in Microgravity." Teacher facilitator: Alexander Hildebrand.
Hillcrest High: Ryan Baker, Hillary Fair and Andrew Jo, "Investigating the Survival of Bacillus subtilis in Multi-layered Organizations Exposed to Solar Radiation." Teacher facilitator: Jonathan Miller.
Jordan High: Jack Casdorph and Whitney Peterson, "Microencapsulation of Ampicillin in Polyvinylpyrrolidone." Teacher facilitator: Gretchen Carr.
Hillcrest High: Keltson Howell, Megan Dolle, and Nikos Liodakis, "Microgravity's Effects of Morphagens in Common Species." Teacher facilitator: Jonathan Miller.
Brighton High: Miguel Davila, Derek Jensen; "The Effects of Microgravity on the Degradation Rate of Telomeres," and Kevin Bryant, Orlando Bateman, Jordan Vogel, Raeleigh Jones and Jeremy Annen, "Apoptosis of Mouse Osteoblasts in Microgravity." Teacher facilitator: Alexander Hildebrand.
Alta High: Abbey Diener, Sean Groathouse, Haylee Johns, Nicole Moody, Marilize Van der Walt, "Inorganic Crystal Growth in a Microgravity Environment as it Applies to Potassium Aluminum Sulfate." Teacher facilitator: Jenette Stewart.
Jordan High: Brandon Call, TJ Giles, Clayton Russell, Eli Schroeder, Ryan Sperry, "Protein Crystal Structures," and Hoi Kiu Tong, Alyssa Brimley, Rachael Cheever and Quincy Steiner, "Degradation of Vitamin C in Microgravity." Teacher facilitator: Gretchen Carr
Midvale Middle: Stephen Behunin, Miranda Jessop, Samuel Li, Shalin Patel, David Sagae, "The Effect of Micro-Gravity Germination on the Nutritional Value of Triticum Aestivum." Teacher facilitator: Caroline Krater.
Union Middle: Saige Curtis, "Determine Viability of Oasis Substrate Material for Use in Hydroponic and Aeroponic Plant Growth." Teacher facilitator: Vicki Ginsburg.
Lone Peak Elementary: Tanner Beck, Trevor McFarland, Kaylen Cole, Libby Black, Ethan Foreman, "A Comparison of Brine Shrimp Development in Microgravity Versus Earth Gravity. Teacher facilitators: Corbi VanWagoner and Roger Jerman.
Community Steering Committee: Dr. David B. Kieda, Chairman, University of Utah Physics and Astronomy Department; Holly Godsey, Canyons parent and manager of various programs, University of Utah Department of Geology and Geophysics and the Center for Math and Science Education; Tony Romanello, Alta High Physics Teacher; Dr. Jan Sojka, Chairman, Utah State University Physics Department; Jim Wall, President, Sandy Chamber of Commerce; Rich Nelson, President and CEO, Utah Technology Council; and Kevin Cromar and Dr. Paul McCarty, Canyons Board of Education members.
Lead Teacher Facilitator: Gretchen Carr, Jordan High
Mentors: David Harris and Julie Callahan, University of Utah; Ed Galindo, University of Idaho; and Jeff Harrell, L3 Communications
Donor/Sponsors: Dr. R. Gil Moore, Utah State University; and the Rocky Mountain NASA Space Grant Consortium, University of Utah and Utah State University.
School Principals: Sue Malone, Hillcrest; Charisse Hilton, Brighton; Tom Sherwood, Jordan; Mont Widerberg, Alta; Mary Anderson, Union; Paula Logan, Midvale; and McKay Robinson, Lone Peak.
Canyons Administrators: Kathy Anderson, Director of Partnerships and Community Service; Hollie Pettersson and Amber Roderick-Landward, Directors of Evidence-Based Learning; and Leslie Allen, Michelle Amiot and Rachel Hill, Evidence-Based Learning Specialists.
Chris Lake of Draper said his neighborhood supports the new high school plan presented to the community Nov. 17 and 18 because it evenly spreads parking and traffic burdens and promotes the greatest safety and convenience. He said Board members can contact him for more information on the neighborhood.
Betty Shaw, Region 17 PTA Vice President, recognized Mrs. Wallace for her advocacy and support of students and thanked her for her service to Canyons and the former Jordan School District.
Lisa Devashrayee, a Butler Elementary parent, said she is concerned community voices are not being heard on where to rebuild the school. She said she and other parents support rebuilding on site, as the majority of students walk to school and would require busing should the school be built elsewhere. She also asked for public meetings on school designs. Board President Tracy Cowdell noted the architects for the school were approved tonight, and community input would be taken.
Sarah Pearce, Butler Elementary PTA President, echoed Ms. Devashrayee's concerns about student safety and costs of transportation if the school should be built elsewhere. She also asked for public meetings on school designs.
The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the Nov. 9 minutes; purchasing bids; November Board hires and terminations; education jobs fund monies; home school affidavit report; November financial repot; and VCBO as architect for the new Butler Elementary. The Board also approved the student overnight travel requests for Alta AP Government, Drill Team, and Boys Soccer; Brighton Cheer; and Jordan Cheer, Drama Club, Softball, and Baseball.
Financial, Academic Standards and Study Proposals and Reports Received
The Board received a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. The report showed the District maintains appropriate fund balances, complies with all reporting requirements, demonstrates leadership on following new standards for financial reporting, and is likely to receive a coveted certificate of excellence for its work. The District proposes adopting a different and more rapid schedule to implement the rigorous Common Core State Standards in literacy and math, as well as provide extensive professional development and achievement coaches to assist teachers in the transition. Proposed future Study Session topics were presented, including SALTA; services for students in Special Education and Title I schools; Safe Schools issues and alternative education; and Board governance and bylaws. The Board received proposed dates for awards ceremonies and Canyons School District Education Foundation fundraisers, high school graduation locations, and proposed school calendars.
Superintendent Doty praised drama and music teachers and students for excellent high school musicals last month, and Evidence-Based Learning and the Communications staff for work on the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program and resulting press coverage. He thanked Mr. Bradford for his excellent work and camaraderie.
Mont Millerberg lauded the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program press event, student winners and their teachers, and former U.S. Senator and Space Shuttle Payload Specialist Jake Garn, who visited with Hillcrest science students and winners. He thanked Operation School Bell for assisting Canyons students with clothing needs, and received several compliments about the District's direction at a Hillcrest School Community Council meeting. He enjoyed Midvale Middle School's Report Card Night activities. Noting Pearl Harbor Day, he thanked veterans for their service and praised the Canyons Native American/Veterans Day honor ceremony that included a World War II Code Talker.
Dr. McCarty said Mrs. Wallace has been an excellent and well-respected Board Member and mentor. He thanked her for her service and said he would miss her.
Vice President Sherril Taylor thanked Mrs. Wallace for her service. He noted Utah High School Activities realignment decisions, including those that place Hillcrest in 4A, as the school had wanted.
President Tracy Cowdell praised Associate Director of Communications Jeff Haney for his work to create a top-notch Apex Awards, an event honoring the contributions of Canyons educators and community members. He wished Mrs. Wallace well, noting this is the last time the original Canyons Board will serve together
Kim Horiuchi thanked Mr. Haney and Communications Director Jennifer Toomer-Cook for their work on the Apex Awards. She attended a series of excellent student performances, including Brighton's "All Shook Up" musical, Ridgecrest Elementary's choir concert, and Oakdale Elementary's orchestra performance, and praised the students, excellent teachers, and strong arts education in Canyons District. She hopes state arts funding continues.
Mrs. Wallace noted Hillcrest and Brighton students' donations to the Festival of the Trees. She noted the upcoming Utah School Boards Association events including the Board of Directors meeting and USBA Day on the Hill. She noted new board member training last weekend, and that Canyons will need to replace her on the USBA Board of Directors. She said she has been honored to work with the Board, and said the District is headed in the right direction.