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Something has changed at Midvale Middle School.

The building itself has changed from its model built in 1955 — everything from the design of the logo to the colors of the hallways, the bright and airy library, cutting-edge cooling and heating systems, and plentiful electrical outlets. But since the new iteration of the school opened its doors this summer, Midvale Middle Principal Mindy Robison is noticing another kind of transformation that is happening in her halls.

“I think there is a motivation that is different,” Robison says. “Something about the new building has sent a message to the kids that we believe in you, and people are in awe of it. I think it sends a different message about how we value the kids. The kids really sense that.”

Midvale Middle was one of the 13 major construction projects promised to CSD patrons at the passage of a $250 million general-obligation bond in 2010. The 13th project, a renovation of Indian Hills Middle, is expected to be done in time for the first day of school this fall. At that time, plans for the the next phase of CSD’s new-school and renovation efforts, funded with proceeds from a just-approved $283 million bond, will be well underway.

Eleven major projects will be done with funds from the 2017 bond. While a priority list has not been determined by the Canyons Board of Education, contractors for rebuilds of Brighton and Hillcrest high schools and a scheduled significant remodel of Alta High were chosen by the Board of Education on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 in order to secure a price for the contractor work before construction costs escalate.  An architect for the new Union Middle was chosen, as well.  Architects for the projects at Brighton, Hillcrest and Alta had been selected Sept. 5, 2017 in accordance with state procurement guidelines and during a regularly scheduled and appropriately noticed public meeting. 

The impact of being in a new school stimulates students’ desire to come to school, Robison says, but the effect goes farther than the cool new cafeteria. Kids want to be in the building, and teachers feel excited to come to work, she says. But even members of the community who don’t have children in the school came to celebrate the school’s opening, and the ripple effect is not limited only to Midvale City.

The impact of new school buildings has been shown to increase student achievement, raise property values and contribute to local economies, according to several studies on the relationship between school construction and communities. While safety, technological accessibility and student needs drive decisions to rebuild and remodel schools, studies show that new-school construction also increases enrollment, boosts student and teacher pride and lifts property values.

“An improved or new school says to the kids, technology is part of the world in which you live,” says Midvale Mayor JoAnn Seghini, a long-time educator and advocate for students. “It says to the kids, ‘You are really important and we really care about your learning and how you are doing.’ It says you can’t stop trying, you have to keep looking at new ways of looking at the futhankyou.jpgture.”

According to a 2011 study published by the Institute of Labor Economics, an economic research institute based in Germany, school construction positively impacts student test scores, school enrollment and home prices. In the study, Yale researchers examined a poor, urban school district based in New Haven, Conn.,  as it embarked on a 15-year plan to revitalize its schools. The study found that trends in reading scores in the district trended upward in the year of construction of the new school and continued to increase for the next six years. Home values increased by 1.3 percent per $10,000 of per-student expenditure and student enrollment increased by 4.4 percent.

A 2008 study of California school districts published by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that investments in school facilities yield increases in both math and reading scores. They gauged the effects of new or renovated schools to be “about one-third as large as the effect of reducing class sizes from 22 to 15 students.”

Communities that invest in schools see immediate returns. Enrollment has increased at several new schools in Canyons District. At Mount Jordan Middle, student enrollment jumped from 732 students in 2013 to 941 in 2017, just two years after the new school was completed in 2015. Enrollment at Butler Elementary increased from 505 students in 2014 to 549 students in 2016, when the new school opened. The new Midvale Elementary grew from 738 students in 2010 to 822 students the year the school was completed in 2012, and Midvale Middle enrollment grew from 803 students in 2014 to 919 students in 2017, when the school opened.

In Cottonwood Heights, Canyons’ efforts to rebuild and remodel aging schools has revitalized the city, Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore says.  The District’s school-improvement plan is one major factor that has led to a 4 percent increase in the sale price of existing homes in the town, he says. According to the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah, Cottonwood Heights is one of just four cities in Salt Lake County that had an overall increase in the sales price of existing homes since 2007.

“It has made a huge difference in the appeal of our community,” Cullimore says, as he points to a new Butler Middle School, new Butler Elementary, new tennis courts, new football and soccer fields, improvements to Brighton High and a partnership creation of popular Mountview Park as evidence of the impact the District has had on the town. “We have a fabulous relationship with the school district and are able to have the community take ownership of and pride in the schools in our municipal boundaries.”
Wednesday, 15 November 2017 16:28

Board Meeting Summary, Nov. 14, 2017

Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking on the corresponding agenda items.


Contractors Selected for Bond Projects at Hillcrest, Brighton, Alta


In accordance with all state procurement guidelines, and during a regularly scheduled and appropriately noticed public meeting, the Board of Education on Tuesday chose the general contractors to oversee the construction of new Brighton and Hillcrest high schools and the major renovation at Alta High. An architectural firm also was selected to design the new Union Middle. The four projects are among the 11 major building efforts that will be funded with proceeds from the $283 million tax-rate-neutral bond proposal that was approved by voters on Nov. 7, 2017. Hogan and Associates Construction was awarded the $2,061,500 contract to rebuild Brighton High. Westland Construction was awarded the $2,594,900 contract to rebuild Hillcrest High, and Hughes Construction was awarded the $1,592,860 contract to complete the renovation work, including the addition of a gymnasium and state-of-the-art auditorium, at Alta High. The Board also awarded the $1,237,500 contract to VCBO to design the new Union Middle.  Members of the Board emphasized that no timetable has been set by taking this action, which secures a price for the contractor work. The Board will continue its discussions regarding the project-priority list at an upcoming meeting.  

Bond Information  

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox reminded the Board of Education that a canvass of the vote on the District’s successful bond measure will be at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017, in the Board Chambers of Canyons Administration Building-East, 9361 S. 300 East. In addition, in a first reading, Wilcox asked the Board to consider the adoption of a resolution authorizing the issuance of up to $49 million in general-obligation bonds and for refunding certain obligations of the District for a cost savings. The resolution does not require the District to issue the bonds. However, it’s the first step CSD must legally take to start the issuance process. 

Recognitions

The Board of Education recognized the following for their achievements:
  • Emilee Astle, Alta High, 5A girls tennis first-singles champion
  • Karli Branch, Corner Canyon High, 5A cross country state champion
  • Georgia Ray, Lindsey Brown, Lydia Stueber, Alta High, artists of CSD’s official holiday card
  • Nicole Brooks, Jordan High; Alana Liu, Hillcrest High; Ben Powell, Corner Canyon High; Camille Verreault, Alta High; and Sage Dumas, Brighton High, student-artists who contributed to CAB-East Art Gallery
The Board also received the Above and Beyond Award for its policies supporting active members of the U.S. Armed Forces and the National Guard.

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the items on the Consent Agenda, including the meetings from the Oct. 17, 2017 meeting of the Board; hire and termination reports, student overnight travel plans; the October Financial Reports; LAND Trust plan amendments for Union Middle, and Edgemont and Silver Mesa elementary schools.  

Proposed Academic Calendars

Dr. Floyd Stensrud, Director of the Office of Planning and Enrollment, updated the Board on proposed academic calendars for the 2018-2019, 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years. This was the second reading of the proposed calendars, which were drafted by CSD’s Calendar Committee, made up of employees and parents. The calendars also were built with input from 1,002 educators who participated in a survey. The proposed calendars can be found on BoardDocs. 

Policy Updates

The Board heard proposals to update policies governing school calendars, student attendance and the release of student records. Also proposed was a policy to allow parents to deny the release of a student’s information to military or college recruiters. 

LAND Trust Spending

School Performance Director Alice Peck updated the Board of Education on LAND Trust reports filed by Canyons schools for review by the state. The reports have been filed in accordance with state law and in alignment with each school’s academic goals.

Union Middle Bell Schedule Change

The Board heard a proposed change to Union Middle’s bell schedule. The school would like to start five minutes earlier than it does now. If approved, the morning bell would ring at 7:50 a.m. instead of 7:55 a.m. There would be no change to the afternoon bell. School would continue let out at 2:50 p.m. The change is mostly cosmetic, and would make it so that classes start and end in five-minute increments. The Board will take up the matter again this summer when it discusses all school bell schedules. 

Pledge of Allegiance

Cub Scout Pack 4433, the members of whom attend Crescent Elementary, posted the colors and led the Pledge of Allegiance.  Crescent Principal Camie Lloyd gave the reverence. 

Patron Comment

Lone Peak Parent Nicole Ellis asked the Board to consider upgrading or replacing the school’s HVAC system. 

Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe thanked the community for supporting the bond proposal and expressed appreciation for the District Office staff members, teachers, principals, and administrators who worked hard to disseminate information about the $283 million tax-rate-neutral measure. He congratulated the Board for the successful vote.

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox thanked patrons for participating in the vote, regardless of how they voted. He also thanked CSD’s Insurance Department for a successful completion of Health Insurance Open Enrollment.  Wilcox also congratulated student-athletes who participated in fall sports.

Board Member Reports

Mrs. Clareen Arnold, in a spirit of Thanksgiving, expressed gratitude for her peers on the Board and colleagues in the District for their friendship and collegiality. She said she’s grateful for the lessons she’s learned while serving on the Board.  Mrs. Arnold said she’s thankful for the healthy discussions, even debate, among Board members on important issues. 

Mrs. Nancy Tingey said she is grateful for the opportunity to serve the community on the Board of Education. She also thanked patrons for participating in the vote on Nov. 7, and considers it a “solemn responsibility” to fulfill the promises made during the election. She also mentioned the Utah State Board of Education School Community Council training, which was hosted by Canyons District, and the Town Halls she has hosted with Mr. Steve Wrigley, Mrs. Amber Shill, and Mrs. Arnold.  She also expressed appreciation to CSD school communities for holding Veteran Day celebrations. 

Mrs. Amber Shill thanked patrons for participating in the Nov. 7 election and reiterated a pledge to be a wise steward of public funds while also providing safe and secure schools for the Canyons community. She enjoyed Brighton High’s production of “Xanadu,” and reported on attending Butler Middle’s Veterans Day assembly and concert for beginning band students. 

Mr. Steve Wrigley thanked the staff involved in disseminating information about the successful bond proposal. He also expressed thanks to patrons who participated in the vote and for the trust the public has placed in the District. He reported on attending the meeting of the Student Advisory Committee and Jordan High’s production of “The Addams Family.”  He also lauded CSD’s recent Utah College Application Week, which encouraged all high school seniors to submit at least one viable college application. 

Mr. Mont Millerberg said he was out of the country at the time of the vote, yet stayed abreast of the vote tallies via the Salt Lake County Clerk’s website.  He believes the District’s bond proposal earned nearly 60 percent of the vote because of the trust CSD has built with patrons. He referred to the completion of all 13 projects promised to the community at the passage of the 2010 bond.  While excited for the plans for the future, he said, “now the real work begins.” He commended the school district for having policies that support National Guardsmen and members of the U.S. Armed Forces. 

Board President Sherril Taylor expressed appreciation for staff members who worked on the bond-information dissemination effort. He also said he was grateful for the patrons who cast ballots on Election Day. He said he respects every vote. He also said he appreciates the Board’s robust discussions about important issues, and thanked the members for representing their constituents.
At the same time word started to spread about the toxic-water woes in Flint, Mich., Canyons District began stepping up efforts to ensure safe water is flowing in its schools’ drinking fountains and sinks. As a result, the District has nearly two years of records that track the quality of water being consumed by Canyons students, teachers, principals and volunteers.

“It’s a stated goal of the Canyons Board of Education and Administration to build and maintain safe and welcoming learning environments,” said Canyons Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe. “As part of our ongoing efforts to improve and modernize CSD’s learning environments, Canyons also has taken the appropriate yet entirely voluntary steps to ensure the water in our schools is safe to drink and use for food preparation.”

Canyons District was the first school district in Utah to conduct regular, scheduled water testing at all of its schools, including the new projects completed with funds from the $250 million voter-approved bond in 2010. Water testing will continue at the new and renovated schools that will be funded with proceeds from the $283 million bond measure approved by 57 percent of voters on Nov. 7, 2017. Both the measures were tax-rate-neutral. 

Here’s how the testing works: Canyons District’s Risk Management Coordinator Kevin Ray arrives at the school before 6 a.m. to get a “first draw.” Those are samples of water that are pulled before any water can be used in the building. This is so the District can get a reading of the possible contaminant levels before the pipes are flushed with new, fresh water.

With each sample bottle, Ray caps it, seals it, and takes it to an independent testing agency to be examined. After a few days, CSD learns the milligrams-per-liter levels of iron, copper and lead. If the levels exceed those allowed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the District immediately notifies parents and teachers and begins a mitigation effort, especially with high levels of lead. Traces of other minerals or metals in the water also may be a signal that the pipes need to be examined. 

“We want students and teachers to know that, through our efforts, they are going into a building that is free from any type of contaminant, be it airborne or in the water” says Ray, who also conducts regular radon-gas testing in Canyons schools. “It’s important to us that   school communities are aware that we conduct these tests and are going to great lengths make sure there is safe drinking water in the schools.

Thanks to Canyons’ water-testing program, the District was able to identify and mitigate water-quality issues at four schools. Filters were installed at Edgemont and East Midvale elementary schools to correct higher-than-the-EPA-guidelines levels of iron. Pipes and fixtures were replaced at Quail Hollow and the old Crescent View Middle when elevated levels of lead were detected.   The results of recent lead testing are posted on the CSD website.

Patrons with questions about the water-testing program can call the Canyons Administration Building-East at 801-826-5000 and ask for CSD's Office of Risk Management.

The majority of residents who cast ballots in the 2017 General Election voted in favor of the Canyons Board of Education’s proposal to use proceeds from a $283 million tax-rate-neutral bond to provide modern and safe schools to children in all parts of the District. 

Unofficial election results indicate that 57.07 percent voted in favor of the plan, which will result in the completion of 11 major construction projects. This includes total rebuilds of Hillcrest and Brighton high schools and a major renovation of Alta High. Some 42.93 percent voted against the measure. Voter turnout was 41.5 percent, according to the Salt Lake County Clerk's Office.

“We are grateful for those who studied our proposal and voted in favor of working in partnership with us to provide safe and modern schools for the children in our community,” said Board President Sherril H. Taylor. “The vote of confidence in our facility-improvement plan is very much appreciated — but we take it very seriously. As we now turn our attention to the hard work of bringing this plan to life, we also reiterate our pledge to be wise stewards of taxpayer dollars as we continue to build up Canyons together.”  

In addition to the Brighton, Hillcrest and Alta projects, the District will: 
  • Rebuild Union Middle
  • Rebuild Midvalley Elementary
  • Rebuild Peruvian Park Elementary
  • Rebuild a White City-area elementary
  • Replace portables with classrooms at Corner Canyon High
  • Build a new west Draper elementary
  • Remodel offices at Brookwood, Granite, Oakdale, Park Lane, Silver Mesa, and Sunrise elementary schools
  • Install windows and skylights for natural light at Altara, Bell View, Brookwood, Canyon View, Crescent, East Midvale, East Sandy, Granite, Lone Peak, Oakdale, Oak Hollow, Park Lane, Quail Hollow, Ridgecrest, Silver Mesa, Sprucewood, Sunrise, and Willow Springs elementary schools

Approval of the bond measure allows the District to continue addressing needs in aging schools in Cottonwood Heights, Draper, Midvale, Sandy and the town of Alta while also planning for future growth. Since 2010, when residents of Canyons District gave approval for a $250 million tax-rate-neutral bond, Canyons District has completed 12 major construction projects. The 13th project promised to the voters at the time of the 2010 bond’s passage is the renovation of Indian Hills Middle, which is expected to be complete by fall 2018.

Work on the first projects with proceeds from the 2017 bond could start this summer.

The District will keep the public updated on the progress of the projects via the website, bond.canyondistrict.org.
For high school seniors, the future is now. Even though the pomp and circumstance of high school graduation is seven months away, the high schools in Canyons District this week are emphasizing the importance of taking the next step in students’ educational journeys. 

From Nov. 6-10, 2017 Canyons District will celebrate its fourth annual Utah College Application Week — five days dedicated to helping students fill out and submit at least one viable application to a college, university or a technical-trade school. 

Although the applying for college can be a serious topic, schools have planned lighthearted events to jump-start every student’s interest in post-secondary education.

Canyons’ high schools will post college-related items on social media; urge participation during assemblies; and play trivia games and treasure hunts. Teachers will decorate their doors with memorabilia from their alma maters, and days have been set aside days for faculty and students to don T-shirts and sweatshirts of favored colleges and universities. 

While CSD’s Utah College Application Week, also called UCAW, is full of fun and games, there’s a serious side, too.  Filling out a college application can be daunting to many students, says Lisa Gardner, a counselor at Hillcrest High. However, during UCAW, counselors and administrators will be on hand to help students every step of the way, she says.    

“We bring every senior into the computer lab where we have counselors available to help them fill out their applications, answer questions, and talk to them about their financial aid options,” Gardner said during a Monday morning interview during ABC4’s “Good Morning Utah.”

“Family support is great,” she told ABC4 morning anchor Brian Carlsen, “but some students need additional support in completing those applications — and we are able to provide that for the students.”   

Gardner also said that many students cannot afford to go to college, so it's so important for each one to complete the FAFSA, which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. FAFSA is the federal form that students must complete in order to make themselves eligible for federal money used to pay for higher education. By filling it out, she said, students can become eligible for Pell Grants, Work Study Programs, and loans subsidized by the government.  

Canyons has placed a heavy emphasis on competing the FAFSA, holding information nights for parents and students. While all CSD schools are seeing success with this effort, Jordan High was recently recognized as one of the top five schools in the state for FAFSA completion. 

But there’s extra help for Canyons students who may need a little extra help to apply to the college of their dreams. Per tradition, the Canyons Education Foundation has pledged up to $10,000 to help low-income students pay applicable college-application fees.

Utah College Application Week, sponsored by the Utah System of Higher Education’s StepUp to Higher Education campaign,  complements the Canyons Board of Education’s mission to ensure all students are ready for college and careers when they graduate from high school.
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