His waterwise approach to maintaining the turf on Canyons School District fields has conserved millions of gallons of water. His push to place mechanical systems in “unoccupied mode” when school buildings are vacant, along with heating, cooling and lighting upgrades, has helped reduce the District’s carbon footprint by 45 percent—even with the addition of 1 million square feet of new construction.

For these, and other, trailblazing efforts to champion the environment, CSD Energy Specialist Chris Eppler was named an Energy Pioneer at the Governor’s 2017 Utah Energy Development Summit on May 4. Organized to brainstorm a sustainable energy future for Utah, the two-day summit drew more than 1,000 attendees.

“These are exciting times for the energy industry — times characterized by rapid changes in how we produce, deliver and use energy,” the governor said in a press statement, expressing appreciation for the movers behind innovations such as, underground geothermal laboratories, wirelessly charging electric vehicles, utility-scale compressed air storage, carbon capture and sequestration, and the production of carbon fiber from coal.

‘Healthy Schools’ Steps at Canyons

ENERGY: Since the district’s inception in 2009, we’ve reduced our carbon footprint by 39 percent — or 6,923 metric tons of CO2 — even as our facilities have grown by 1 million square feet, says Canyons’ Energy Specialist Christopher Eppler. That’s the equivalent of taking 10,311 cars off the road.  This was accomplished by upgrading heating, cooling and lighting systems in older schools and by placing mechanical systems in “unoccupied” mode when buildings are vacant.

WATER: Canyons also is doing its part to curb water usage; the district has about 370 acres of turf to maintain. With a $15,000 grant from the Central Utah Water Conservancy District, Eppler hired and trained Canyons students to help survey, monitor and adjust school water schedules based on the root zone, type of grass, shade, soil type and evaporation rate. In July 2014, the district used 16.5 million gallons less than in July 2012 and 9.5 million gallons less than in July 2013. 

RADON TESTING: Canyons District was recently honored by the Utah Division of Environmental Quality for its radon-testing program. CSD is the only district in Utah that regularly tests schools for radon with all buildings tested at least every two years.

CLEAN AIR: On Earth Day, Canyons became the first school district in Utah to go idle free at all of its schools. The campaign kicked off early in the morning at Ridgecrest elementary school where “no idling” signs were installed and students greeted drivers with placards, informational pamphlets and window clings to place in vehicles. Eventually, signs will be placed at all Canyons schools and “no idling” pledges will be sent home with students, encouraging parents to voluntarily pledge to “turn their key and be idle free.”
Amber Shill, a Canyons District Board member with deep roots in civic involvement, has been selected to serve on the newly-reorganized Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) Board of Trustees.

Her re-appointment—this will be her third year on the Board—was announced May 4 as part of a reorganization to reduce the Board in size from 30 members to 16. She was previously a member-at-large, and will now represent 5A schools.

Mrs. Shill will bring some continuity to Utah’s official sanctioning body for high school sports, music, theatre, and speech and debate. She served on the subcommittee that negotiated the new athlete transfer rule with the Utah State Board of Education and was a member of the panel that hired the organization’s three new assistant directors.

“I’m excited to continue to serve,” she said, noting, “Students are my No. 1 priority.”amberboard.jpg

Since 1927, UHSAA has led the development of education-based interscholastic activities in the sports and arts under the belief that they are essential to the high school experience.

Mrs. Shill was a vocal supporter of the recent Board vote to sanction lacrosse as Utah’s 11th official prep sport. Advocates had been seeking a sanction for nearly a decade, which they say will expand opportunities for students already playing in club programs, and will open the sport to students who have no other means to participate except through high school.

“Boys and girls will have another opportunity to participate and excel in another sport,” Mrs. Shill told the Deseret News.

Mrs. Shill was elected to the Canyons Board of Education in November 2014, and is the Second Vice President. Her roll-up-the-sleeves style of leadership has endeared her to the District 2 community she represents, which covers most of Cottonwood Heights.

Mrs. Shill and her husband have four children who attend or have graduated from the Brighton feeder system. She graduated cum laude from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance.

Her more than 17 years of civic involvement includes volunteering in Cub Scouts, leading youth groups, and serving as a Salt Lake County Precinct Delegate. She has volunteered in schools, and led multiple districtwide committees, School Community Councils and the PTA’s at Bella Vista Elementary, Butler Middle and Brighton High School. Most recently, she served as the School Community Council Chair at Brighton High from 2012-2014.
Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking the corresponding agenda items.

Board Summary

The Canyons Board of Education on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 approved a new salary schedule that will boost the starting salary for a beginning teacher more than $5,000 a year while also providing salary hikes for mid-career and veteran educators. The new salary schedule pushes the starting salary for a new teacher in Canyons District to $40,500. Also, every licensed employee will see no less than a 4 percent jump, and the average increase will be 6.5 percent after the conversion to the new single-lane salary structure. Members of the Board of Education unanimously voted in favor of passing the salary schedule, which Canyons’ Human Resources Department and Principals can use to attract high-quality candidates for classrooms and special programs. The new salary schedule also continues Canyons District’s commitment to providing professional compensation packages to employees. Every year since CSD’s inception in 2009, and even during the years of the Great Recession, the Board of Education has approved some kind of salary increase for employees. In addition, the new single-lane schedule provides an opportunity for educators to make continuous, positive impacts to their lifetime earnings. The level on which teachers start is based on years of experience and educational level. An explanatory chart can be found on the CSD website. 

Board President Sherril H. Taylor issued this statement on behalf of the Board: “In 2009, we launched an experiment in public education in Utah. On July 1 of that year, Canyons became the first new school district to be created in the state in nearly a century. On that first day, we pledged to focus on student achievement, innovation, customer service, and community engagement. We acknowledged then, as we do now, that education is the key to a successful life. Our teachers are the backbone of our efforts to ensure that every child is college- and career-ready at the time of their high school graduations. Great teachers do so much: They inspire. They encourage. They elevate. They care. Tonight, we are showing in word and deed how much we care. Not only will we be recognizing the commitment and excellence of our Teachers of the Year, we’re also putting into place a competitive salary schedule for all licensed employees in Canyons District. The new salary schedule will increase the starting yearly salary for a first-year teacher more than $5,000 while also providing salary hikes for mid-career and veteran educators. Every licensed employee will see no less than a 4 percent jump, and the average increase will be 6.5 percent. In addition, the new single-lane schedule provides an opportunity for educators to make continuous positive impacts to their lifetime earnings. The Board of Education believes it is important to invest in the District’s people. In turn, our students will benefit. Our classrooms will be led by the best and brightest educators that we can attract and retain, especially in this era of a nationwide teacher shortage. More than that, in Canyons District, we strive to create a sense of unity and common purpose. Yes, it takes a village, and our teachers, with their experience and knowledge, are a vital part of the Canyons District family. After all, teaching is the profession that teaches all other professions. Teachers, on behalf of the Board of Education, I thank you for your commitment in this noble endeavor of educating our children. Yes, you touch the future.  You teach.”

Teacher of the Year

Union Middle teacher Drew Fosse’s creative approach to keeping students motivated and engaged is among the reasons the Board of Education honored him as Canyons’ Teacher of the Year. The history teacher was chosen from a pool of 48 of CSD’s best educators who represent each of Canyons’ schools and programs, including Canyons Virtual High, alternative high school Diamond Ridge and the academy at the Utah State Prison. Each teacher was nominated for their abilities to inspire students and colleagues, lift their fellow educators and collaborate with their school community.  The announcement ceremony was held in the Professional Development Center of the Canyons Administration Building-East, 9361 S. 300 East. The two other finalists in this year’s selection process were Stephanie Cobabe, a teacher at East Sandy, and Janice Spencer-Wise, a physics teacher at Brighton High. The Canyons Education Foundation gave a $1,000 cash prize to Fosse. Cobabe received $750 and Spencer-Wise received $500. 

Tentative Agreements with ESP, Administrators

The Canyons Board of Education tentative negotiated agreements for the 2017-2018 school year with the Canyons Education Support Professionals Association and District Administrators. By accepting the tentative agreements, and with the vote to put into place a new salary schedule for licensed educators for the 2017-2018 school year, all employees in the Canyons will see a boost in compensation in the coming academic year.

For administrators, the District agrees to fully fund increment steps for eligible employees; a 3.25 percent cost of living adjustment to the base of the Administrative Salary Schedule; and a one-time 1.25 percent stipend for the 41 administrators who are at the top step during the 2016-2017 school year. The District also agrees to the recommendations of the District Insurance Advisory Committee regarding the insurance premium increase. The total dollar increase will be 11.3 percent. The District will contribute 83.7 percent of the increase and employees will contribute the remaining 16.3 percent. The administrators also agree to the plan-design changes recommend by the DIAC. The administrators who have a master’s degree plus 30 semester hours in pursuit of additional education will receive a $2,100 stipend, which is 50 percent of the stipend for those with doctorate degrees. Also, administrators must have 240 sick days to be eligible to participate the sick-day redemption program.

For the Education Support Professionals, the District will fully fund increment steps for eligible employees. The District also will fund a 3.25 percent cost of living adjustment to the base of the ESP salary schedule. The District will maintain the same number of working days and hours for current contracted employees. Exceptions would be governed by regular District policy and procedures. The salary schedule changes and increment increase for all ESP employees, regardless of the employee’s contracted day of work, will go into effect July 1, 2017. Changes will be retroactive if negotiations extend past that date. In 2018, there will be an 11.33 percent insurance premium increase, but the District will contribute 83.7 percent and the ESP employees will contribute the remaining 16.3 percent. The District will maintain health premiums with no increase between July 1, 2017 and Dec. 31, 2017.  Also, upon retirement through URS, and based solely upon sick days accrued since July 1, 2009, the District will pay $100 per day for 25 percent of the employee’s accrued, but unused sick leave.

In addition, the negotiated agreement states that salary lane movement for promotions of current employees promoted after Jan. 1 will be given service credit from their previous hire date and eligible for step increments increase.

Proposed Bus Route Changes

Risk Management Coordinator Kevin Ray updated the Board on a proposal to cancel a bus route that serves students who reside in Big Cottonwood Canyon. The plan is to reimburse families for the costs of transporting their children to a pickup area somewhere in the valley at the base of the canyon. Students would then be bused from this area to Butler Elementary, Butler Middle or Brighton High. This falls in line with how the District handles transportation to and from other mountainous areas, including Little Cottonwood Canyon, Suncrest and South Mountain. Because the Big Cottonwood Canyon route services fewer than 10 students, the state only covers 50 percent of the costs. The Utah Division of Risk Management has expressed concern about the route, said Ray who drove it personally on April 10. “There is no room for driver error,” he said, referring to heavy traffic, natural hazards, such as heavy snow and rock slides, and the lack of shoulder space and adequate guard rails. The steep grade requires downhill buses to use their engine breaks the entire length of the road. Though the posted speed limit is 40 miles per hour, large buses can only safely drive at about 15 to 20 miles per hour. This poses a risk as drivers become inpatient and attempt to pass on the windy, two-lane road. Busing will continue through the end of the current school year; any changes, if approved, would take in 2017-2018. The Board will take up the issue at a future meeting, and directed the Administration to notify affected families in advance of any decision. 

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved items on the consent agenda, including minutes from the April 11, 2017 meeting of the Canyons Board of Education; hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; student overnight travel plans; March financial reports; and 2017-2018 School Land Trust Plans, which have been signed by two Board members. 

Policy Update

The Board approved on a third reading, proposed changes to personnel policies governing salary levels for employees returning to work after a work-related medical accident; health-insurance eligibility; long-term disability; and employee probation.
This is the house that Canyons built. And it's also being put up for sale at a drastically reduced rate for any qualifying Canyons District teacher or Education Support Professional.

The listed price of the 1,500-square-foot house, which was built as part of the Canyons Technical Education Center's construction-management program, is $285,000. That's far below the assessed value of $340,000.

Canyons District can provide this opportunity by partnering with Sandy City, which donated the lot on which the house was constructed. The house is located at at 107 E. Benson Way in Sandy. 

Most years, proceeds from the sale of CTEC homes fund future construction projects. However, for this year, and for several years into the future, the homes built by students will be sold at far-below-market values in order to strengthen and revitalize neighborhoods and make it easier for CSD employees to live in the District.

Interested? Join us for an Open House on Friday, April 21 from 3-8 p.m., or on Saturday, April 22 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Students who helped build the home will be ready to present a tour.

Features of the home include a two-car garage, covered front porch, covered rear patio, master bath soaker tub, two-tone paint, and central-air. In order to be considered, interested employees must show pre-qualification documents and agree to a five-year residence agreement.

Questions? Call CTEC Principal Ken Spurlock at 801-826-6601.

  • Submit the pre-qualification papers to CTEC Principal Ken Spurlock (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
  • Hard copies delivered to CTEC by May 31, 2017
  • House will be sold to employee application with highest-qualifying offer
  • District committee will determine the successful application

Want to know more? Watch Spurlock talk to KUTV Channel 2 anchor Holly Menino about the program.
Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking the corresponding agenda items.

Budget Proposal

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox presented an overview of the proposed 2017-2018 budget for Canyons District. He said the tentative budget aligns resources with the Board’s stated vision and mission.  The budget proposal aims to increase compensation to recruit and retain excellent teachers and support staff; implement student-behavior programs with Enhanced At-Risk Funds; and maintain current class sizes with a 30-FTE cushion to support teacher teaming and Dual Language Immersion, etc.  The proposed budget includes increases for utilities, supplies, and instructional technology.  Wilcox also told the Board salaries and benefits make up about 87 percent of the General Fund Budget. While insurance costs are expected to go up, the District is planning to cover most of the costs. The state’s funding formula, called the Weighted Pupil Unit, will increase to $3,311. However, the District plans to spend $7,700 per student. Wilcox also mentioned that two current construction projects — the new Alta View Elementary and Midvale Middle — will be complete this year. The costs of the scheduled renovation of Indian Hills Middle also will be seen in the proposed budget. The proposed budget also includes several Capital projects, including roof replacements at Park Lane and Oakdale elementary schools; carpet at Altara, Sunrise and portions of Alta and Brighton; and an ADA upgrade at Lone Peak Elementary. Wilcox also said it’s not expected that school lunch prices will go up.  The Board also has approved a fee schedule that has no increases. The budget proposal is scheduled to be adopted June 13. The Board will be asked to adopt both the revised fiscal year 2017 budget and tentative fiscal year 2018 budget. The budget proposal will be made available for public perusal 15 days before the scheduled adoption. If needed, additional budgetary information will be brought to the Board after June 22 when the certified tax rate is expected to be released. 

LAND Trust Plans

The Board of Education received LAND Trust plans for the schools in the Canyons District. The plans, which are reviewed and approved by members of the Board, include each school's Comprehensive School Improvement Plan. The target approval date for the plans is April 24. 

Supplemental Hours of Instruction

Instructional Supports Director Dr. Amber Roderick-Landward updated the Board on enrollment progress for CSD's Supplemental Hours of Instruction for Kindergarten program. The District is moving forward with its plan to expand the sites of the tuition-based kindergarten initiative. Dr. Roderick-Landward said a final decision on the program sites is dependent on the number of applications submitted. The goal is begin notifying applications of acceptance to the program by April 21. Cost for the program is $2,950 a year, and can be paid in monthly installments, August-May. Financial-need scholarships also are available for qualifying students.  

Possible Agenda Topics

The Board of Education discussed possible topics for discussion at upcoming Board meetings and retreats. Suggestions for discussion included updates to the elementary-school Brain Booster program; the District’s facilities plan; CSD mental-health supports and services; further examination of the District’s vision and mission; the evaluation tool for the Superintendent and the Business Administrator; and gifted-student education, among other items. 

Policy Update

Assistant Legal Counsel Jeff Christensen updated the Board on proposed changes to personnel policies governing salary levels for employees returning to work after a work-related medical accident; health-insurance eligibility; long-term disability; and employee probation.

Pledge of Allegiance and Reverence

A Scout Troop from Bella Vista Elementary led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. Bella Vista Principal Cory Anderson remarked on the power of positivity, and applauded his community for coming together to support student achievement. Remarkable things happen every day within Bella Vista classrooms, he said, but a few, such as the Dr. Seuss-centric Read Across America celebration, have garnered media attention this year.


The Board of Education recognized the following students, administrators, and community members:
  • Brighton High student Julianne Liu, who won the Bonnevile Exchange Youth of the Year Award
  • Canyon View Elementary Principal BJ Weller, recipient of the Utah PTA Outstanding School Administrator Award. 
  • Sunrise Head Secretary Wendy Heath, who received the Utah PTA Outstanding Support Staff Award
  • Willow Springs’ Leslie Bruce, who received the Utah PTA Advocacy Award
  • Peter Cannon, a father of a student at Alta View Elementary, for receiving the Utah PTA Involvement Award.

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the consent agenda, including hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; student overnight travel; the list of school fees for 2017-2018 school year; an amended LAND Trust plan for Alta High; the acceptance of lots from Sandy City on which CTEC construction-management students will build houses. 

Jordan High Feeder Proposal

The Board of Education told the Office of School Performance and Jordan High administrators to move forward with a summer academic program for Beetdigger freshmen. The aim of the program is to help students from Eastmont and Mount Jordan middle schools transition to high school classes, especially in math and science. 

Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe reported on attending the National School Board Association Conference. He also mentioned that Board Vice President Nancy Tingey was formally recognized at the national conference for serving as the President of the Utah School Board Association. He also thanked members of the PTA and other volunteers for their efforts in CSD.  Specifically, he mentioned PTA Region 17 Director Betty Shaw. He also expressed appreciation for Wilcox and his team for their work on the budget proposal.   

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox thanked Sandy City for donating the building lots for our construction-management students. He also thanked the Canyons Human Resources department for tis extensive recruitment efforts.

Reports from the Board of Education  

Mr. Chad Iverson said he attended the regional spelling bee. He also said he’s excited for the Indian Hills Middle groundbreaking on Thursday, April 13. The event will be at 5:30 p.m. at the school. 

Mrs. Clareen Arnold said she learned a lot at the NSBA conference and expressed appreciation for being able to attend. She looks forward to the Teacher of the Year reception and announcement ceremony. She also commended those involved in the Jordan High Feeder Program, and thanked Wilcox for preparing a thorough budget proposal. She also thanked Sandy City for the donation of the land for the CTEC students.

Vice President Mrs. Nancy Tingey also reported on her attendance at the NSBA Conference.  She also said she attended some of the school Teacher of the Year reveal parties, and expressed thanks for the donation of the land for the CTEC students. 

Second Vice President Mrs. Amber Shill reported on attending the NSBA conference, Canyon View’s PTA meeting, and the announcement of the Teacher of the Year, as well as Weller’s recognition as the PTA Administrator of the Year.  She also attended Granite Elementary’s production of “Schoolhouse Rock.”  She and Mrs. Tingey also will host a Town Hall Thursday, April 20. They will meet with patrons from 7:30-9 p.m. in the media center at Butler Middle. 

Mr. Steve Wrigley also reported on attending the NSBA conference. He said he visited Diamond Ridge High. He said students responded positively to a survey that asked if they enjoyed school and whether they thought the teachers cared about them.  He said students also expressed a desire to graduate from high school. 

Mr. Mont Millerberg reported on attending the Incident Command Manual Update Committee.  He expressed thanks to the staff who are focusing on improving the safety and security of CSD buildings. He also thanked the nearly 12,000 volunteers who work in Canyons schools.

Board President Sherril Taylor said he’s looking forward to the Indian Hills Middle groundbreaking ceremony. He also thanked the Scouts for conducting the Pledge of Allegiance and posting the colors. He also expressed appreciation to members of the Board for representing their constituents and attending so many activities in the District, and the administration for working hard on behalf of students. He also thanked the Sandy Police officers who provided security at the meeting.
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