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

Budget Hearing

Following a public hearing, the Board of Education approved a final budget for the 2016-2017 school year. The Board also voted to adopt the proposed budget for the 2017-2018 school year, which contains no tax rate increase. In fact, if projections hold, CSD’s tax rate will be the lowest in the District’s history, reported Business Administrator Leon Wilcox. When residents receive property tax notices, however, home owners may be surprised to see their annual tax payment growing, which is due to an 8 percent spike in home values in 2017. In 2017-2018, CSD’s expenditures are expected to be about $405 million, the vast majority of which will be spent on instruction, or salaries for faculty and school staff, including, the largest teacher pay rise in CSD’s nine-year history, explained Wilcox. Class sizes under the proposed spending plan would remain the same, though, an investment would be made in 30 teachers to support team-teaching in the middle schools and elementary split classes. The budget also includes money to cover the rising cost of school supplies and utilities, pension and insurance payments, capital facilities improvements, and payments on old Jordan District debt. CSD’s General Fund balance is budgeted to decrease from $70 million to $66 million. However, the actual decrease is expected to be less due to conservative budget practices.

Administrative Appointments

Canyons District approved new administrative appointments for the coming school year.

Kenna Sorensen, currently the Principal of East Sandy Elementary, will become an administrator in the Instructional Supports Department. This position was created when Dr. Darren Draper, the Director of Education Technology, resigned to accept a position in the Alpine District.

With the move, Sorensen joins the Department of Instructional Supports’ administrative team of Director Dr. Amber-Roderick Landward and Administrator Jesse Henefer in guiding the District’s curriculum and education-technology initiatives

Dr. Angela Wilkinson, currently the Assistant Principal of East Midvale Elementary, has been selected as the new principal of East Sandy Elementary, replacing Sorensen.   

Danya Bodell, who is now an Achievement Coach at Brookwood Elementary, is the new Assistant Principal at East Midvale Elementary.

School Lunch Policy

In response to a federal mandate, the Board of Education approved a policy regarding the payment of unpaid meal charges. Canyons District’s practice will be following: “If a student’s meal account is inadequate or delinquent to pay for a meal, the school will provide a full meal to the student, and parents will be notified that the school may use collection efforts to pay for the provided meals.” At the end of the school year, if accounts are in arrears, then parents may be sent to a collection agency. Throughout the year, efforts will be made to communicate with parents, via paper and electronic means, as well as provide information about free- and reduced-price applications. All schools participating in the National School Lunch Programs were required to adopt a school unpaid meal charge policy by July 1, 2017.

Discussion About Possible Construction Projects

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox reminded the Board of Education that a 2009 architectural review showed $650 million in needed repairs to CSD schools. Now, in 2017, after nearly all projects of the $250 million voter-approved bond have been completed, the District has about $382 million in needed upgrades. Wilcox also presented information on the buildings that could possibly be identified as bond projects if the Board were to decide to seek voter approval on a general obligation proposal in the future. A for-discussion-only list was formed by using Facility Condition Index scores of current buildings and previous input by members of the Board. The 10-project list included elementary, middle and high schools in all parts of the District. The Board members asked the administration to provide additional information on enrollments, growth patterns, possible construction timelines, and past voting records.

Big Cottonwood Canyons Bus Route

The Board of Education voted to require the administration to investigate contracting with a private agency to provide transportation for students who live in Big Cottonwood Canyon. The administration has been given a month to provide this information to the Board. The Board originally entertained the motion to cancel the route because of its inherent dangers and declining ridership.

Information for Board Roundtable

Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe presented the Board with information that was compiled in advance of the Board’s scheduled June 27 roundtable discussion. He urged the Board members to review the data and progress reports put together by various departments for the Board’s review. Dr. Briscoe also noted the inclusion of patron and teacher survey results.

Patron Comment

Jen Buttars, who served as CEA president for the 2016-2017 school year, thanked the Board and Administration for their efforts to be collaborative and friendly with the teacher’s union. She said members of the Board has made it “abundantly clear” they respect teachers and want to hear their input.  She said she was emotional about being at the Board meeting as the last time as the CEA leader. 

Outgoing Region 17 PTA Director Betty Shaw thanked the Board members for their friendship during the past eight years. She served as the Associate Director for three years and the Director for five. She said she’s been to countless ribbon-cuttings and groundbreakings, committee and Board meetings, award programs and luncheons. She noted the hard work associated with the 2010 bond election, and boundary changes and grade configuration. She recalled a heated Truth in Taxation hearing in 2010, when “brutal” things were said about the Board. In the end, though, Board members listened to constituents. She said it was an honor to serve children and the District.

Former Alta High student John Carillo presented information about the start times of schools. He urged the Board to consider adopting later start times for secondary schools. 

Tom Fendler urged the Board to maintain the bus route in Big Cottoonwood Canyon.  He urged the Board to disregard Utah State Risk’s assessment of the safety of the route. 

Resident Scott John urged the Board to keep the bus route in Big Cottonwood Canyon. He presented a letter by the Big Cottonwood Canyon Community Council, which made an official request for the Board to keep the route.   

Student Isaac Reese, who has ridden the bus route in the canyon, says he has never felt unsafe.  

Kamiah Peterson is a student at Brighton High.  She’s been riding the bus for 12 years. She’s never felt unsafe and prefers to ride the bus in the winter seasons.  If the bus route is cancelled, she would have to drive her younger brother, who would not have a ride home if she stayed after school for activities and work. 

Resident Deborah Myer urged the Board to keep the bus route in Big Cottonwood Canyon. 

Consent Agenda

The Board approved seven items on the consent agenda, including, hires and terminations, purchasing bids, student overnight travel plans; May financial reports, administrator appointments, and the approval of sale of CTEC student-built homes at 107 Benson Lane and 109 Benson Lane. 

The Board asked Business Administrator to explain the proposal to change the medical and dental carrier for the 2018 Insurance Benefit Year. Wilcox said CSD is required to bid professional services every five years.  CSD last went through this process in 2013.  After a competitive bid and evaluation process, the Administration recommends PEHP to be the third-party administer and carrier of the District medical and pharmacy plans.  This would take effect January 2018.  The Board approved this consent-agenda item after the discussion. 

Board Recognitions

The Board of Education recognized the accomplishments of students. The students are: Corner Canyon’s Olivia Berhan, first-place winner of the Young Sandy Entrepreneurs competition; Brighton High’s Redd Owen, 5A state tennis singles champion; Corner Canyon’s 4A championship girls golf team; Alta High’s 4A state championship soccer team; Alta High’s Stewart Robinson, 4A pole vault champion; Hillcrest High’s Gracie Otto, 4A pole vault champion; Jordan High’s Nicole Freestone, state champion javelin thrower; and Corner Canyon’s Logan Orr, 4A champ in 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles. The Board also applauded CSD’s Academic All-State honorees and National Merit Scholars Brian Johnson and Eric Jackson.

Pledge and Reverence

Canyons District’s Director of Accounting Gary Warwood led the Board and audience in a recitation of the pledge of allegiance. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kathryn McCarrie delivered the reverence.

Volunteer Report

Public Engagement Coordinator Susan Edwards reported that 12,674 volunteers have been approved, per state regulations, to work in Canyons District schools.  It takes up to three days to clear a volunteer, Edwards said, but our team of staff members who approve the volunteer applications work hard to complete those as soon as they come in. A final report will be made to the Board soon after school starts. 

Legislative and Policy Update

The Board voted to update policies governing the evaluation of Education Support Professionals; licensed personnel; administrative personnel; student conduct and discipline; and the provisional status of ESP employees and administrative employees. The minor changes to evaluation and student discipline policies were proposed to align with federal and state law.  The provisional policies were aligned for consistence among employees. 

The Board also voted to update policies governing school wellness; the protection of private health records; the District Advisory Council for Education Support Professionals; professional development conference attendance; and secondary-school schedules.  

Superintendent’s and Business Administrator’s Report

Superintendent Jim Briscoe commented on the traumatic incident at Brookwood Elementary on Tuesday, June 6. He said it’s not likely we’ll ever be able to make sense of the event, but it was heartening to see the community pull together to provide support to students, families, and teachers. The care and support was overwhelming, he said. He lauded Sandy Police officers for their good work and sensitivity. He thanked Wilcox and Accounting Director Gary Warwood for their work on the budget.  He reported on attending Hillcrest, Brighton and South Park high school commencement exercises. He said all the rites were well-planned and executed.  Even though school is out, Canyons employees are working hard, including at professional development for teachers and administrators. 

Mr. Wilcox thanked all parents, employee, students, and staff for their work in completing a successful school year, the District’s eighth. Wilcox also thanked those who responded and provided support to the Brookwood school community.

Board Reports

Mr. Chad Iverson reported on attending the graduation ceremonies for Alta and Corner Canyon high schools. 

Mrs. Clareen Arnold said the graduation rites were “awesome.”  She expressed appreciation for faculty, administrators and staff for helping students reach their goals. She thanked the business staff for their work on the budget. 

In a written statement read by President Taylor, Mrs. Nancy Tingey expressed thanks to the Sandy Police Department and the CSD Administration for their sensitivity and professionalism in handling the event near Brookwood Elementary.  

Mrs. Amber Shill expressed appreciation for the support given to the Brookwood school community. She reported on attending the Brighton and Hillcrest high graduation rites. She’s received feedback on the Friday that students have off before the last day of school. She asked the Calendar Committee to survey teachers to find out if they want that day off or would like another day.

Mr. Steve Wrigley also mentioned feedback about the calendar. He also reported on attending Mrs. Gretchen Murray’s celebration of life.  Murray was the 2016 Canyons District Teacher of the Year. 

Mr. Mont Millerberg said his granddaughter attends Brookwood and, based on what he’s heard from his family and others, complimented Principal Barrett for her good, thorough, professional work. He also reported on attending Hillcrest’s graduation ceremony, and lauded the mature comportment of the Class of 2017. He also thanked Mrs. Betty Shaw for her service in Region 17 PTA leadership.  He also reported on attending the Retirees Banquet at The Gathering Place at Gardner Village. He wished them well in their journeys.

President Sherril H. Taylor said he was proud of the conduct of the students at the graduation ceremonies. He thanked Wilcox and Warwood for their work on the budget. He said the Board considers all members of the community part of the CSD family. Members of the Board are keenly aware of the supports that are provided the students, especially during crises, and he thanked the employees for their hard work and dedication. 
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