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Board Meeting Summary, Dec 2, 2020

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

Bond Resolution

The Board of Education moved forward with the a proposed issuance and sale of bonds to pay for school-improvement projects. An issuance of $79 million from the bond approved by voters in November 2017 will be used to continue construction at Alta, Brighton, Hillcrest and start work at Union Middle. It’s the final amount available from the measure approved by patrons. The Board also approved the refunding of some $40.2 million in bonds from the 2020 voter-approved bond issued in 2010. The refinance effort takes advantage of lower interest rates and is projected to save taxpayers up to $7.6 million. If the plan is realized, the sale of the new issuance would be in mid-January. The sale of the refunded bonds would be in March. Canyons District has a AAA bond rating, which saves taxpayers money. 

New-School Construction Plans

The Edgemont and Peruvian Park elementary schools will be housed at the old Crescent View Middle from the days following the 2021 Spring Recess until the completion of two new schools in fall 2022. The move will provide an extra seven weeks of construction at the two locations. Work on the new Peruvian Park and Glacier Hills, which will house the combined Edgemont and Bell View communities, will begin in January. The new schools will be built where the current schools now stand. 

School Guidance Counselor Report

School Counseling Program Specialist Tori Gillett provided information to the Board of Education about how schools conducted online Utah College Application Week activities. The aim of UCAW, which has been held in Canyons for seven years, is to help each high school senior submit at least one viable college application. Gillett said some schools held FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) Nights with supports positioned in appropriate locations in the buildings so families could safely obtain help completing the federal forms required for students to get financial aid. Board members Amanda Oaks and Steve Wrigley expressed appreciation for the work of school counselors who have juggled the demands of providing academic and mental-health supports in a year of fluctuating class and learning schedules as a result of COVID-19.

Comprehensive Financial Report

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox presented the 2019-2020 Comprehensive Annual Comprehensive Report.  The CAFR is a required document that informs stakeholders about the financial aid and economic state of the District, which spends some $26 million a month to operate. Wilcox noted there’s been a 55 percent increase in the taxable value of property in Canyons District since 2010, and it’s projected that assessed values of properties in CSD will continue to go up. Other financial highlights of the report: Canyons retired $23.6 million of general-obligation bond in 2020; the District issued $80 million for ongoing school-improvement projects; the unassigned fund balance for the General Fund was $25.4 million, or 8.7 percent, of General Fund expenditures. Wilcox also addressed the budget lines related to the provision of free meals to the community during the spring months of the pandemic.

Small Capital Projects

Construction work continues apace at the Alta, Brighton, and Hillcrest high school-improvement projects, Wilcox told the Board of Education. The main focus for summer 2021 will be furnishing and moving into the new schools. It’s hoped that the new buildings for the Hawks, Bengals and Huskies will be ready in fall 2021. Wilcox reviewed the process CSD uses to plan small-capital projects. Canyons also plans to start improvement projects at Eastmont Middle and the Transportation Department building, among others. The District also plans to start work on the new Glacier Hills Elementary and rebuilds of Peruvian Park Elementary and Union Middle. 

Curriculum Adoption Process

Instructional Supports Director Dr. Amber Roderick-Landward reviewed the process CSD follows as part of a proposal to adopt a curriculum. As part of that, the public will be invited to review a proposed new curriculum for third-grade science classes, “Inspire Science,” from McGraw-Hill. A link to the phenomena-based science curriculum will be placed on the website, and patrons without digital access will be able to see a hard copy in the lobbies of the District Office. The adoption of new standards at the state level will require teachers to utilize a curriculum that is phenomena-based. After patrons review the curriculum, they will be able to submit feedback online. According to CSD’s process, the public is given access to the proposed curriculum 18 months before implementation. The Board asked Dr. Roderick-Landward for information about the phenomena-based science curriculum currently being used in fourth and fifth grades. 

Recognitions

The following students, faculty and staff were honored for their achievements:

  • Corner Canyon High football team, 6A UHSAA football champions
  • Doug Christensen, Silver Mesa custodian, Sandy Hero of the Year Award

The Board of Education also honored Mr. Chad Iverson for his eight years of service on the Canyons board. Mr. Iverson did not run for re-election. 

Emergency Closure 

The Board adopted a new protocol for how Canyons District will hold  virtual, or independent, learning days instead of a “Snow Day” if inclement weather forces closures of buildings.

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the Consent Agenda, including minutes from the Nov. 10, 2020 meeting of the Canyons Board of Education; hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; the 2019-2020 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and related audit reports;  TSSP Amendments for Mount Jordan Middle and Sprucewood and Oakdale elementary schools. 

Patron Comment

Alyssa Powers, Alicia Woodward, Heather Rasmussen, Christopher Mebius, Evan Tobin, and Erika Bradshaw addressed the Board of Education. Recordings of their comments can be accessed on BoardDocs.

Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports

Dr. Rick Robins thanked Business Administrator Leon Wilcox and his team in the Accounting Department for their work to secure and manage funding for capital improvements and bond projects, which have improved the safety of CSD’s school buildings and helped rejuvenate communities. He applauded Midvale Elementary principal Lori Reynolds and her staff for their efforts on behalf of English language learners, which earned the school an “exemplary” designation by the Utah State Board of Education. Dr. Robins also reported on new COVID testing measures in schools. In line with state requirements, the District has begun testing students and employees who are involved in Utah High School Activities Association-sanctioned extracurriculars. The District also has expressed interest in participating in a county project to offer COVID testing to students when a school faces having to quarantine due to rising COVID rates. In addition, the District is offering free, voluntary COVID testing to employees. These measures, taken with other preventive strategies, promise to be a powerful tool in the bid to slow the spread of COVID and keep students and employees safe.

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox thanked Board member Chad Iverson for his years of dedicated service. He updated the Board on progress with the clean-up of a flood at Jordan Valley School.

Board of Education Reports

Mrs. Amber Shill expressed appreciation for the leadership of Superintendent Robins and Mr. Wilcox. She remarked on how much she will miss Mr. Iverson and his influence as a member of the Board, and thanked teachers for their work to expand synchronous learning opportunities. 

Mrs. Amanda Oaks also complimented teachers for their work to advance virtual learning and expressed appreciation for the continued support and cooperation of the Salt Lake County Health Department throughout this pandemic. She congratulated the Corner Canyon High football team for winning the 6A state football championship. She also thanked Draper City for donating a portion of its unused Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act funding to install livestreaming kits in CSD classrooms and reported on having attended a virtual EdPalooza conference. 

Mrs. Clareen Arnold said she is grateful for the fellowship she has enjoyed with outgoing Board member Iverson and thanked all the CSD employees for their tireless devotion to student achievement in a most challenging year.  

Mrs. Nancy Tingey welcomed Holly Neibaur who attended the meeting.  Neibaur will soon be sworn in as the new Board member representing District No. 7.  President Tingey commended CSD employees for their hard work and willingness to continue to press ahead, despite the extra demands placed on them this year.

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