Tuesday, 27 April 2010 07:00

Bond FAQs — Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the bond?

  • Answer: Canyons District voters on June 22, 2010 approved a $250 million general obligation bond proposition -- a first step in addressing building needs and forwarding the District’s academic plan to prepare students for college and careers. Bond money will begin to address $650 million in building renovation and repair needs an architectural study identified in Canyons School District.

Who are the architects for the first five projects?

  • Answer: The Board of Education in October 2010 hired architects to begin designing five school projects: Building a new high school in Draper; rebuilding Midvale Elementary and Butler Middle School; renovating Albion Middle School; and upgrading Sandy Elementary to meet seismic code. The architects are:
    Midvale Elementary School Replacement: NJRA Architects
    Sandy Elementary School Seismic Upgrade: MHTN Architects
    Albion Middle School Renovation: FFKR Architects
    Butler Middle School Replacement: VCBO Architects
    New High School in Draper: Sandstrom Associates For more information please view the Oct. 5, 2010 Board Meeting Summary.

How do bond projects forward grade reconfiguration?

  • Answer: The Board of Education in February 2010 voted to reconfigure grades served in each school level to better prepare students for college and careers. In fall of 2013, ninth grade will move into high school, sixth grade will move into middle schools, and elementary schools will serve kindergartners through fifth-graders. To accommodate enrollment when ninth-graders attend high schools, the District needs to build a new high school in the rapidly growing community of Draper. The move provides ninth-graders with a seamless connection to a rigorous college- and career-prep high school curriculum. Middle schools are being redesigned physically and academically to focus on student support, individualized attention, community involvement and high-school preparation. Elementary schools will focus on basic academic mastery; those with room for more students could offer additional school-choice programs such as specialized early childhood programs, dual-immersion language instruction, or other magnet programs. The Canyons Technical Education Center will be redesigned as a magnet high school offering the full array of core academic courses but centered on a specialized career academy. For more information, view the career- and college-ready plan.

What are the design standards?

  • The buildings will meet all modern codes and be designed to improve indoor environmental quality and resource stewardship.

How will the community be involved in the design process?

  • Answer: Each school project has a Design Committee of architects, District officials, school principals and faculty, and community members including parents, city planners and leaders. The committees brainstorm how each school can be designed to meet academic programming needs. Architects use the feedback to create and present schematic designs at community input meetings, and adjust draft designs based on community input. Designs ultimately will be presented to the Board of Education for approval.

Would the proposed high school in Draper be part of an already existing charter school?

  • Answer: The intent of the Board of Education and Administration is to build a high school that would be supported and overseen by Canyons District.

The bond election is being held June 22, the day of the Primary Election. Do I have to be a member of a political party to receive a ballot to vote on Canyons District’s bond proposal?

  • Answer: No. You do not need to be a registered member of a political party to vote for the proposed Canyons District bond, which will be on every ballot that is given to all voters at the June 22 primary election.

Where would the Draper high school be built?

  • Answer: Canyons School District owns enough property at about 12800 South and 800 East in Draper to accommodate a high school campus.

Cottonwood Heights and Mountain View elementary schools are closed and sitting empty. Why not use one of those buildings instead of building a new school in White City?

  • Answer: Canyons Board of Education is not proposing to build a new school in the White City area of the District. The Board’s list of proposed projects lists a White City-area school as one of the facilities that will be renovated.

Where would children attend classes while their school is being renovated?

  • Answer: While disruptions to normal schedules are inherent in renovation and construction projects, the Superintendent’s staff will work with school administrations and community councils to minimize impacts to the school community. Depending on the project management options, some students may have to be bused to alternative locations during the duration of their school’s construction work. Several facilities that are not currently in use also could be employed as temporary homes for school communities.

What is the length of bond?

  • Answer: The length of the proposed Canyons District bond is 20 years.

How did the Board of Education decide which schools would be rebuilt or renovated?

  • Answer: Members of the Board wanted to maximize the impact with the funds the District could obtain without drastically affecting taxpayers. They also wanted to make sure families in all parts of the district would benefit from the facilities-improvement plan. Board members considered several other factors when establishing the list. Among the influences: Seismic and safety issues; facility age and condition; surveys of patrons and parents; and the importance to the advancement of the district’s academic plan. The Board and Administration are aware of the many needs across the district, and continue to work on a 10-year improvement plan addressing projects that can be done at each school with ongoing funds.

Which schools in Canyons District will be renovated or rebuilt?

  • Answer: The Board of Education has established 13 priorities. They are:
      1) A new high school in Draper.
      2) Upgrade Brighton and Hillcrest high schools.
      3) Rebuild or renovate Midvale Elementary, Butler Elementary, Butler Middle School, Midvale Middle School, Mount Jordan Middle School, an elementary to be determined in the White City area, address seismic issues at Sandy Elementary and enclose classrooms and install air conditioning at Albion, Crescent View and Indian Hills middle schools.

If this bond proposal is successful, will my taxes go up?

  • Answer: While a recent study of Canyons District facilities shows there are approximately $650 million worth of needed repairs at the schools, $250 million is the amount the district would be able to obtain without moving beyond the tax rate that would be required to pay the district's debt. The plan of the district is to layer new debt into the payment structure as soon as old debt is retired. Many school districts and government agencies have used this financial strategy to mitigate impacts to taxpayers. While the bond proposal is designed to remain tax-rate neutral, factors such as fluctuating property-value assessments cannot be controlled by the school district.

Canyons District has existed for less than a year. Why does it have debt?

  • Answer: In 2003, voters in the then-Jordan School District approved a $281 million bond to renovate buildings. However, in November 2007, communities in Cottonwood Heights, Draper, Midvale, Sandy and Alta voted to create a new school district, which eventually became Canyons District. Although no longer part of Jordan, Canyons taxpayers still are required by law to pay a significant portion of Jordan's previous bond debt. Canyons District has no control over old Jordan District debt or its repayment plan. Canyons' assessment, the payment for which will continue until 2022, is $213 million. Three percent of that total was spent on schools in Canyons District.

When would the high school in Draper be built?

  • Answer: If voters approve the bond proposal, design work could start immediately. Students could begin attending classes at the new high school in fall 2013.

Why build a new high school? Why not draw new boundaries?

  • Answer: A new high school in Draper is linchpin in the Canyons District academic plan. A pending districtwide grade realignment would place ninth graders into the high schools, allowing freshmen to take advantage of more academic offerings and extracurricular opportunities. Current space constraints, however, prohibit Alta High School from being able to accommodate an entire class of freshmen from Draper. The construction of a secondary school in Draper, the largest Utah city without a secondary school, provides a solution that eliminates the need for massive and disruptive boundary changes while also making participation in scholastic, enrichment and athletic programs available to more students.

When will Canyons District reconfigure grades?

  • Answer: Grade reconfiguration is largely dependent on the outcome of the June 22 election. A successful bond campaign would mean design work on the Draper high school could start immediately and planning could begin on a districtwide grade realignment for fall 2013, when the new high school would be ready to open. Considering enrollments and available space, without the new high school in Draper, it would be exceedingly difficult to accommodate freshmen in the existing high schools, particularly Alta, which houses students from Draper and already is at maximum capacity. Money from the bond also would pay for improvements at the high schools — Brighton and Hillcrest — that do not have adequate facilities for a four-year high school.

Where do I vote?

However,

How can I vote early?

  • Answer: Early ballots for the June 22 bond election, which also is the date of the primary election, can be cast from June 8-18. Forms to request absentee ballots, which are due the Friday before the election, are available at http://www.clerk.slco.org/. If you live in Alta or Midvale, you'll have to go to Sandy, Cottonwood Heights or Draper to vote early. A picture ID is required.

Why isn’t my school on the priorities list?

  • Answer: The Board wanted to maximize bond funds without drastically affecting taxpayers, and ensure families in all parts of the District would benefit from the facilities-improvement plan. It considered factors including seismic and safety issues, facility age and condition, and importance in the advancement of the academic plan. The board is working on a 10-year plan to address the needs of all schools with ongoing funds.
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