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Board Meeting Summary, May 16, 2017

Approval of Negotiated Agreement with Canyons Education Association

The Board of Education unanimously voted to approve a negotiated agreement with the Canyons Education Association for 2017-2018 school year. The agreement contains a small adjustment to the Conversion Placement Table approved at a prior Board meeting. The new, single-lane salary schedule represents the largest pay hike in the District’s history, bumping the starting-teacher salary by more than $5,000 to $40,500, while also funding raises for mid-career and veteran educators. Every licensed employee will see no less than a 4 percent jump, significantly improving their lifetime earnings and retirement payments. As part of the agreement, the District will cover 83.7 percent of the 11.33 percent hike in health insurance premiums that takes effect in January 2018. One Personal Leave Day will be converted back to a Sick Leave Day. Also, under a policy change, the provisional status of experienced transfer teachers may be shortened if they have:

  • Successfully taught for at least three consecutive years in an accredited school or district
  • Completed at least one year of provisional service with Canyons District
  • Successfully met the criteria outlined in GCOA-Evaluation of Instructional Staff (Licensed)
  • Been recommended by their principal/supervisor for a Provisional Status Exception
  • Received approval by the Director of Human Resources

The Board read the following statement into the minutes: 

“Tonight, the Canyons Board of Education voted to approve the tentative negotiated agreement for 2017-2018 with the Canyon Education Association. We take this opportunity to express our heartfelt thanks for the licensed educators in Canyons School District. With this agreement, and with the previously announced salary structure that gives no less than a 4 percent salary increase to every teacher in Canyons District, the Board of Education decidedly shows in word and deed how much this community values education. We have said it before and we will say it again: Teaching is the profession that teaches all other professions. With the intention of bringing the best and brightest to Canyons District classrooms, and to give teachers a chance to earn more over the length of their careers, the Board of Education moved singularly and decisively to make an important and positive financial impact in the lives of our teachers. Day in and day out, the men and women who lead classrooms in Canyons District are making good on the promise of our nation – that every child has a right to a free, appropriate education. President John F. Kennedy once said, ‘Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education.’ The Board of Education can send no clearer message than this: We honor and respect our teachers. We thank them for their care, creativity, and commitment to ensuring that every student in Canyons District graduates college and career-ready.”

Budget Update

With the expiration of a 7-year-old school-district funding equalization law, Canyons District’s property tax rate will be auto-adjusted for the 2017-2018 school year, Business Administrator Leon Wilcox told the Board of Education. Even though the tax rate is being auto-adjusted, CSD’s goal is to keep the 2017-2018 tax rate lower or the same as the 2016-2017 rate, he said. The Administration will, in adherence to state law, post a tax notice in Utah’s major daily newspapers. The Board will adopt a revised FY17 budget and original FY18 budget at its June 13 meeting following a public hearing. At least 15 days prior to that meeting, the budgets will be posted to the District’s website.

Proposed Reorganization 

A fiscally neutral reorganization is being proposed to consolidate oversight of two departments that support teachers in the classroom: Instructional Supports and Education Technology. The proposed changes are occasioned by the resignation of Education Technology Director Dr. Darren Draper, who is leaving CSD for another job opportunity. After consulting with Draper, and meeting with his staff, it was decided that aligning the Education Technology Specialists with Instructional Specialists would create operational efficiencies and synergies and improve communication, explained Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kathryn McCarrie. Under the plan, Education Technology Specialists would move under the umbrella of Instructional Supports, and an administrative position would be added to shoulder the additional supervisory burden. In addition, four teacher positions would be elevated to provide more support to academic and technology coaches. The administration of Canyons Virtual High School would be assigned to CTEC Principal Ken Spurlock.

Policy Update

Legal Counsel Jeff Christensen briefed the Board on a proposed policy change in the handling of unpaid school-nutrition meal charges.

Pledge of Allegiance, Reverence

Willow Canyon Scout Troops No. 838 and No. 541 led the audience in the pledge of allegiance, and Willow Canyon Principal Marilyn Williams conducted the reverence. Teachers at Willow Canyon embody a can-do attitude; more than 15 have met level-one certification for using technology in the classroom, she said. The school has several enrichment programs, including a choir and fine arts program. Students also participate in CSD’s annual storytelling festival and “Monster Math” program. “Every student successful is our goal,” William said. 

Patron Comments 

Canyons Education Association President Jen Buttars announced that the association has ratified a tentative negotiated agreement with the District for teacher pay and benefits. “We appreciate the nearly $11.5M investment in teacher salaries and believe that the Board has truly demonstrated a commitment to not only recruit, but also retain educators,” she said. “We also appreciate the Board’s willingness to examine issues such as insurance premiums. provisional status of experienced teachers, personal and sick leave, easier access to payroll codes, and the number of assessments being given to students.” 

Big Cottonwood Canyon resident Tom Fendler addressed the Board about the proposal to eliminate the bus route in the canyon. He urged the Board to keep the route. Karin Peterson also told the Board it would be a hardship for her if the Board eliminated the route. Deborah Miles, also a resident in the canyon and parents of a student at Butler Elementary, urged the Board to keep the route. Eric Railsbeck also spoke in favor of keeping the route.  CVHS administrative assistant Julie Mayo also addressed the Board, reporting on some of the tasks that need to be completed by CVHS employees.   

Bond Discussion

Board members discussed their thoughts about the projects that could be considered for completion on a future bond issuance. This fall, both a new Midvale Middle and Alta View Elementary schools will open. Both schools have been completed with proceeds from a $250 million bond approved by voters in 2010. Crews have started to work on the renovations at Indian Hills Middle, the 13th and final project promised to voters when the bond was approved. 

Bus Route

The Board voted to table a proposal to cancel a hazardous bus route up Big Cottonwood Canyon while they take into consideration patron comments and concerns. Board members asked the Administration to explore the possibility of using a smaller bus or van to transport students. The Board will continue to study the matter at future meetings.


The Board of Education recognized the accomplishments of students in Career- and Technical-Education programs who won first place in their respective competitions. They also recognized Altara Elementary teacher Joani Richardson, who received a 2017 Huntsman Award for Excellence in Education; Jonathan Hale, a teacher at Sprucewood and Jordan Valley schools, who received a Sorensen Award for Excellence in Arts Education, and Betty Shaw, the outgoing Region 17 PTA Director.  National PTA Reflections winners – Oakdale Elementary’s Sarah Baros, for photography; Copperview’s Tuesday Harris, for literature; and Draper Elementary’s Alyssa Meadows, for music – also were honored.    

Easement for Trail Near Edgemont Elementary

The Board of Education considered a request from Salt Lake County for an easement to build a trail along Edgemont Elementary School’s property line. The county successfully passed the Zoo, Arts, and Parks (ZAP) tax at the November 2016 election, and as part of its ZAP plan, wants to construct a walking trail through White City, CSD’s Budget Administrator Leon Wilcox explained. The trail would run along Edgemont Elementary and would require an easement from the District. Board members expressed concern about the possible need for a fence to safeguard students, and Board President Sherril H. Taylor asked the Administration to explore the possibility of a land exchange with the county. Wilcox said these stipulations could be added to the easement agreement along with language to require the county to maintain the trail and repair any damage to District property incurred during construction. Also included would be language requiring the trail to be relocated if Edgemont is rebuilt at a future date. The easement will be brought to the Board for approval at a later meeting. 

Remarks by Elected Representatives

The Board of Education heard remarks from Utah Rep. Bruce Cutler, R-Murray, and Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper.

Consent Agenda

With exception to one school’s overnight travel plan, the Board approved all items on the consent agenda, including, hires and terminations, purchasing bids, student overnight travel plans; and April financial reports.

Counseling Update

Comprehensive Counseling and Guidance Coordinator Tori Gillett updated the Board on services provided by the school counseling programs. She told the Board the counselors are aligning data projects with the school-improvement plans of the schools. The projects also focused on attendance, behavior and course understanding. Highlights of the CSD counseling efforts include the launch of counseling services at Diamond Ridge and HYPE courses for counselors. The counselors also continue their efforts to increase the number of students who submit a viable college application during the Utah College Application Week. 

Superintendent and Business Administrator Reports

Superintendent Jim Briscoe thanked Shaw for her service to CSD as the Region 17 PTA President. 

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox commended Dr. Darren Draper for his work in Canyons District. Wilcox said Draper was one of the first people he met when Wilcox started working for CSD in 2009.  He honored CSD Energy Specialist Chris Eppler for being honored by Gov. Gary Herbert for his work in helping conserve energy in our facilities.

Board Reports

Mrs. Clareen Arnold reported on negotiations with CSD employees.  She appreciates the negotiating teams for working hard on behalf of the District’s employees. She also commended teachers who were honored during the Teacher of the Year ceremonies. She looks forward to the Retirees Banquet on May 25.

Mr. Chad Iverson reported on watching Alta and Corner Canyon student-athletes compete in the Region 7 track meet. He also will be attending the Indian Hills Middle end-of-year band concert. He also reflected on the accomplishments of the educators honored during the Teacher of the Year announcement ceremony. He said one of his former teachers is the father of one our Teachers of the Year. 

Mr. Mont Millerberg enjoyed the Teacher of the Year presentation. He thanked the teachers who “go to the battle line” every day in our schools. He also reported on attending the Thursday, April 27 Canyons Education Foundation Spring Gala. He expressed appreciation for the support in the community for the Foundation. 

Mrs. Amber Shill reported on attending the Sacred Images mural unveiling at Corner Canyon High. She reported on attending the Brighton and Butler Middle’s SCC meetings, and thanked District staff for their work on the Teacher of the Year ceremonies and the Foundation’s gala. She attended fifth-grade DARE graduation at Bella Vista Elementary. She thanked Betty Shaw and Dr. Draper for their service to Canyons District. 

Mrs. Nancy Tingey mentioned attending the Latinos in Action celebration and congratulated the LIA students who were recognized for their achievements. She mentioned she was able to participate in the electronic bidding during the Foundation’s spring gala. She was able to buy a charcoal painting done by a student during the event. She thanked Shaw for her service in the Region 17 PTA.

Mr. Steve Wrigley reported on attending the Foundation’s Spring Gala.  He also recognized our special education department’s excellent services. 

President Taylor thanked Shaw for her voluntarism. He also thanked the Office of Public Communication for organizing Recognitions. He reported on Communities that Care group to which he belongs. Taylor also reported on attending Alta High’s Awards Ceremony. He expressed appreciation for Principal McGill’s efforts at Alta High, the various administrators for working hard throughout the year, the Canyons Virtual High School staff, and Mr. Steve Van Maren, a resident who often attends CSD meetings. 

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Lucie Chamberlain

Alta View Elementary

If a movie about super teachers were ever made, Lucie Chamberlain would be a prime candidate for a leading role. Fortunately for her kindergarten students at Alta View Elementary, she already thrives in a supporting role for them. Parents thank her for being a “super teacher.” She is also described as an “amazing colleague.” Whether students need help in the classroom or from home while sick, Lucie goes above and beyond to help them learn, overcome fears, and feel important and cared for. Lucie is the reason a number of kids went from hating school to loving it, according to parents. The way she exudes patience, sweetness, positive energy, and love for her students with special needs melts is appreciated and admired. One parent noted: “Both my kids wish she could be their teacher forever.” Another added:  “She treats every student like their learning and their feelings are her priority.” Super teacher, indeed!

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