Board Meeting Summary, June 8, 2021

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

CSD Prepares for New School Year

Superintendent Dr. Rick Robins said Canyons District’s focus in the coming year, as the District returns to pre-COVID-19 operations, is to re-envision education to achieve connection and healing — or REACH. As the community reflects on the disruptions brought on by the novel coronavirus health crisis, Robins said, CSD has an opportunity to reach toward what we want the post-pandemic future to look like. In 2021-2022, CSD will continue to prioritize in-classroom instruction while building upon the District’s online learning options through Canyons Online and other digital-education tools. Attention will be paid to students who need support to gain any academic ground lost during the COVID-19 year, especially in reading and mathematics. Instructional Supports Director Dr. Amber Roderick-Landward said CSD will have a better idea of the supports that will be needed to support students after the end-of-level test results are reviewed thoroughly. Schools also will return to their usual schedules and resume traditional events, such as attendance at athletic events, overnight travel, field trips, assemblies and start-of-school activities, and carry forward with sophisticated cleaning routines and air filtration improvements, said Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bob Dowdle. Special efforts will continue to be made to support students and connect with families to remove obstacles to learning. The physical and mental well-being of students and employees will be a priority, said Responsive Services Director BJ Weller. An emphasis also will be placed on renewing connections with families and our community partners.

Energy Conservation

In response to calls to conserve water in Utah’s drought, the Canyons Board of Education approved a resolution requiring the Administration to develop short- and long-range strategies for “facilities construction and renovation, facilities management and preventative maintenance” to save operational dollars and reduce energy use while maintaining environments that foster learning.  Canyons already has programs in place to reduce consumption. Canyons’ total utility budget has stayed relatively the same in the past dozen years even though District building space has increased by 600,000 square feet, or 12 percent. This was made possible by emergency conservation efforts in schools and District Offices, CSD energy conservation expert Chris Eppler told the Board of Education. Eppler said CSD has achieved this by keeping operational times only when the buildings are occupied by students, teachers, and staff; using one boiler to heat the building instead of two because of redundancy; repairing and maintaining HVAC equipment promptly; Inputting intelligent HVAC programming to the Building Automated System; installing LED lighting; building well designed new buildings; and inspiring staff members to be more energy-conscious. Eppler also updated the Board on a student intern program that trains students to document irrigation systems at schools. 

Administrative Appointments

Doug Hallenbeck will serve as the principal of the Canyons Technical Education Center in the coming school year. Hallenbeck assumes the role after serving as CTEC’s Assistant Principal in 2020-2021 while Janet Goble, Canyons’ Director of Career and Technical Education, has been serving in the dual role as CTEC Principal and CTE Director. Also, Mary Simao will be promoted from Intern Administrator to Assistant Principal at Jordan High, and MTSS Specialist Jared Tucker will become Assistant Principal at Alta High, succeeding Garry True, who has retired.

Construction and Facilities Update

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox presented information about the major construction projects at Alta, Brighton and Hillcrest high schools. The ribbon-cutting event at Alta High is scheduled for Aug. 11,  even though the gymnasium will not likely be completed until Sept. 15 — about a month after school starts. Lunch options will be provided to Alta High students until a renovation of the kitchen is complete. Crews are working hard to make sure the fire egress and life-safety concerns are addressed this summer, and that classrooms are completed for the first-day-of-school instruction to occur, Wilcox said.

Brighton’s ribbon-cutting event is scheduled for Aug. 12. This summer, Bengal classroom wings should be completed and classroom furniture will arrive mid-July. Demolition on the old Brighton High will begin on June 14.  The kitchen, media center, and a large group area on the top floor of the multi-story building will likely not be complete in time for the start of school, he said. The parking lot also may not be done until December. The ribbon-cutting for Hillcrest will be Aug. 13. However, the auditorium, due to the complexity of the lighting, sound and seating installation, will not be done until Oct. 1.  The media center is expected to be completed on Sept. 15, and the main parking lot may be complete in December.  Baseball, softball and soccer fields, as well as tennis courts, will be completed in summer 2022.  The Board of Education also voted to move forward with a plan to create a CSD Local Building Authority so the District can sell lease-revenue bonds to fund construction projects. The Board of the LBA will be made up of  members of the elected Board of Education, according to the articles of incorporation, which are scheduled to be approved on June 22. 

Budget Information

The Board of Education approved the final $316.6 million budget for 2020-2021 and a $322 million proposed budget for 2021-2022, the final year that CSD patrons will be required to pay debt accumulated by the old Jordan School District. A hearing was held to review the budgets and, in public, set the state-calculated Certified Tax Rate, which will likely go down because of the increase in property values. The majority of the budget, funded mostly by property taxes and state support, is dedicated to salary and benefits for employees. The proposed budget also includes funding for Union Middle, Glacier Hills and Peruvian Park elementary schools, and the final projects at the new Brighton, Hillcrest and Alta high schools. The debt rate was set to generate sufficient revenue to pay debt service, but not to exceed 0.001565. The District will set the State Basic Rate when it’s determined by the Utah State Board of Education.

Strategic Planning Update

Superintendent Dr. Robins updated the Board on the progress of the strategic plan and the CSD team’s collaboration with Education Elements.

Positive Behavior Plans

Canyons District schools will begin the work of building and approving Positive Behavior Plans, as required by state law. Principals create the plans with input from students, parents and staff.  The Board of Education approves the plans, which have been uploaded to an online system for ease of access for the Board, said BJ Weller, Responsive Services Department Director. 

Recognitions

The following were recognized for their achievements:

  • Seniors who were part of the inaugural CSD Peer Court in 2020-2021
  • CCHS’s Jaxson Dart for being named the 2021 Gatorade National Football Player of the Year
  • Sixty-three students who earned Academic All-State Honors in spring sports
  • Brighton High students who won state titles in 5A tennis
  • Corner Canyon and Alta boys lacrosse teams for winning division titles

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the Consent Agenda, including the minutes for the May 18, 2021 meeting of the Canyons Board of Education; purchasing bids; student overnight travel requests; hire and termination reports; and administrative appointments.

Patron Comment

Patron Christine Oliver discussed transportation issues in her Suncrest neighborhood.

Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports

Dr. Robins reported on the “super positive” commencement exercises at CSD high schools.  He congratulated the Class of 2021, and thanked faculty, staff and administrators for planning the in-person rites.  He thanked Mr. Wilcox for overseeing Canyons’ construction projects and developing the proposed budget.

Mr. Wilcox thanked CSD employees for their work during the COVID-19 year.  He noted not a single elementary school pivoted to online learning because of rising case counts.  He expressed his appreciation for Dr. Robins for his first year as CSD superintendent.

Board Member Reports

Mrs. Holly Neibaur reported on attending graduation ceremonies for Alta and Corner Canyon high schools. She thanked PTSAs and SCCs for their service during the 2020-2021 school year, mentioned an Oak Hollow teacher who is leaving CSD to return home to family in Michigan, and expressed appreciation for Wilcox’s attention to detail with the budget and other financial matters.

Mr. Steve Wrigley said it was a “special” year for graduations. He noted the work of CSD administrators, parents, teachers – and the Board – during the challenging year.  He said COVID-19 struggles prompted the community to pull together like never before.

Mrs. Amanda Oaks noted the importance of democracy and representative government, and stated how grateful she is that students had the choice to attend class in-person throughout the year.  She recognized those who served the community, including her fellow Board members, who worked so hard to maintain in-person school and activities this year.

Mrs. Amber Shill recognized that graduation seemed “so special” this year after a year of COVID-19 protocols. She also shared positive feedback she received from the community about the Summer Boost program. She also remarked on the hard work of high school principals and their teams in response to COVID-19-related issues.

Mr. Mont Millerberg reported on attending the transition ceremony of Jordan Valley, CSD’s school for students with severe disabilities, and the Hillcrest graduation ceremony, held in the historic auditorium.  It will be the final activity in the auditorium before it is torn down as part of the school’s reconstruction.  He also spoke about a recent conversation with former Board President Sherril Taylor, who called the creation of CSD a “miracle.”  He updated the Board on upcoming USBA events. 

President Tingey said a CSD family reported to her the myriad ways that staff and faculty worked to help their student graduate, even against great odds.  She acknowledged that work is still happening in the summer months to aid students in their drive “to get across the finish line.”  She said she attended graduation ceremonies.

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