Board Meeting Summary, May 18, 2021

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

School Re-Opening Plan

CSD Superintendent Dr. Rick Robins and General Counsel Dan Harper updated the Board on the latest statewide health order, which ends the face mask requirement in Utah’s public schools on the Monday of the last week of the 2020-2021 school year. In Canyons District, the final four days of the school year are May 24-27. While, pursuant to the health order, the face mask requirement will expire in Canyons on Monday, May 24, Robins said he feels it’s important that anyone who, for health or other personal reasons, prefers to continue wearing a face mask in Canyons’ schools should be free to do so. He called for continued civility and respect, and encouraged students and employees to respect people’s individual choices. The teasing or bullying of people for wearing masks, or not wearing them, has no place in CSD schools, he said, noting the importance of going forward with grace, understanding and kindness. The Board of Education moved to discontinue the District’s COVID-19 Response Plan, effective May 24. They also approved the extension of the following safety measures through the last day of the summer term: retain upgraded air filtration systems; continue daily cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas while making use of hydrostatic sprayers; make hand sanitizer available in all classrooms; serve grab-and-go sack lunches where feasible; maximize distancing; encourage schools to use outdoor spaces for instruction and activities as feasible; and prop open classroom doors when appropriate. The Board directed the Administration to work on a communication to CSD families.

Strategic Planning Update

Education Elements consultant Shelby McIntosh updated the Board on progress, and next steps, with the strategic review of CSD’s vision and mission.  

Budget Update

Canyons Business Administrator Leon Wilcox updated the Board on the proposed budget for fiscal year 2022. The District has projected its General Fund to be $319 million. The primary source of revenues come from state funds and property taxes. Federal money grew as a share of the General Fund due emergency COVID-19-related spending. Most of the budget, about 88 percent, goes to covering wages and benefits for employees. Mr. Wilcox noted projections for a slight decline in enrollment over the next five years, driven by Utah’s stagnant birthrate. When the certified tax rate is finalized by the state in June, it’s expected CSD’s tax rate will decline by nearly 4 percent. Homeowners and business owners will likely see increases on their tax statements, however, due to rising property values in Utah. Wilcox explained this will be the last year CSD property owners will see the “Old Jordan Debt Service” line appearing on their property tax statements. This means Canyons District patrons will no longer be required to pay debt that was accumulated by the former Jordan District. The Board will receive updates at future meetings as part of the process for adopting a revised FY21 budget and new FY22 budget. The budget will be published May 21, 2021 on the District’s website. A public hearing will be held at the Board’s June 8, 2021 meeting.

Negotiated Agreements

The Board approved the 2021-2022 negotiated agreements with the Canyons Education Association and Canyons Education Support Professionals Association. The Board also approved the 2021-2022 compensation package for administrators.

Construction Update

On Dec. 3, 2019, the Canyons Board of Education approved the use of lease revenue bonds to facilitate completion of school improvement projects that were promised to the public at the passage of a $283 million general obligation bond in November 2017. The action was necessitated by unexpected construction cost increases resulting from Utah’s tight labor market, pandemic-related supply chain disruptions, and the rising cost of materials. CSD Business Administrator Leon Wilcox updated the Board on the process for the issuance of those bonds. The projected amount needed to facilitate the rebuilds underway of Glacier Hills Elementary and Peruvian Park Elementary, would be $35-$38 million to be repaid over 20 years with the District’s capital funds. The Board will discuss the bond issuance at future meetings. If the Board decides to move forward with the issuance, a public hearing will be held in July or August.

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the Consent Agenda, including the minutes of the meeting of the Canyons Board of Education from May 4, 2021; hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; student overnight travel requests; April financial reports; and 2021-2022 LAND Trust and TSSA plans which have received signatures from two Board members. 

Recognitions

The following students were recognized for their achievements:

  • Aidan Rideout, a freshman at Corner Canyon High, won first place in 2nd Singles at the 6A Boys State Tennis Championship. 
  • Emily Erickson, a senior at Alta High, is Utah’s 2021 Sterling Scholar in the Business and Marketing Category
  • Canyons District’s three 2021 National Merit Scholarship winners: Emily Erickson from Alta High; and John M. Baird and Michael Q. Lu from Hillcrest High. 

Patron Comment

  • Alta High parent Tracy Henderson, and legal counsel for Utah Parents United, thanked the Board and Administration for their tireless work this year. She reported on a Legislative committee’s passage of HB1007, which would prohibit Utah’s public schools and universities from requiring face masks this coming fall. The bill now heads to the full House and Senate for consideration at a Special Legislative Session on Wednesday, May 19. Ms. Henderson also urged District leadership to avoid applying for any federal funding that is made available in support of Critical Race theory.
  • Bella Vista Elementary student Amelia McNamer asked the Board of Education to continue to require face masks in schools through the end of the school year. She said, many students aren’t yet vaccinated, and masks have worked to help keep students and employees safe.
  • Parent Lisa Bruns shared concerns about the use of face masks in schools, and urged District leadership to discontinue other health and safety protocols.
  • Patron Nancy Larson Nichols said she is concerned about the safety of face masks and COVID-19 vaccinations.
  • Parent Brynn Whitchurch thanked the District for taking steps this year to keep schools open and preserve in-person learning. She moved to Canyons from another school district that taught almost exclusively online this year. She urged District leadership to make face masks optional in schools.
  • Parent Tona Davenport shared concerns about schools joining with health authorities to sponsor COVID-19 vaccination clinics. She spoke in favor of the most recent statewide health order, which ends the face mask requirement in schools on the Monday of the last week of the 2020-2021 school year.
  • Liz Miles, a member of the Executive Board of the Region 17 PTA, thanked the Board and District leadership for the tough decisions that were made this year in support of keeping students learning.  She said her children have benefitted from being able to attend school in person. She also spoke to the benefits educators have gained from having time for planning on virtual learning-Fridays.
  • Speaking on behalf of the Canyons Education Support Professionals Association, Brandon Wolf thanked the Board of Education and Administration for working collaboratively with staff to meet challenges this year.

Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports

Superintendent Dr. Rick Robins reiterated his appreciation for CSD parents, students, and employees in this challenging year. He hopes the community is able to pause and reflect on the lessons and successes of the year while extending grace and kindness to everyone as we navigate evolving state health guidelines.

Mr. Leon Wilcox echoed the Superintendent’s expressions of gratitude and offered his congratulations to the Class of 2021. He also thanked members of the negotiation teams who assisted with employee compensation agreements for the next school year. Mr. Wilcox also briefly mentioned steps the District has taken, and will continue to take, to conserve water as the state copes with drought conditions.

Board of Education Reports

Ms. Amber Shill congratulated CSD’s retirees on the conclusion of meaningful and successful careers. She had attended a Butler Middle Open House in honor of school-based retirees, and enjoyed the opportunity to say goodbye to staff and faculty who have made a difference in the lives of her children and countless others.  Ms. Shill also thanked School Community Council members and principals for the care and thoughtfulness that went into preparing school LAND Trust and TSSA plans. She also expressed gratitude for the guidance provided by School Performance Director Alice Peck and External Relations Coordinator Susan Edwards.

Mr. Steve Wrigley remarked on how sad he is to see social strife and division as we begin to exit the pandemic. Emergencies have a tendency to bring people together, and he hopes the lasting lessons from the pandemic are of kindness and civility.

Ms. Clareen Arnold thanked School Performance Director Alice Peck for her role in administering the completion of school LAND Trust and TSSA Plans together. Care and thought that went into those in support of students Also thanked negotiation teams to reach common ground. Please go forward with grace, understanding and kindness.

Mr. Millerberg waived his comments due the Board meeting’s late hour of adjournment.

Ms. Neibaur expressed appreciation for the collegiality, leadership and integrity of her fellow Board members. She thanked School Performance Director Alice Peck, External Relations Coordinator Susan Edwards, principals, and School Community Councils for their work to complete school LAND Trust and TSSA plans. She remarked on how much she has enjoyed participating in school activities, such as senior awards ceremonies, now that COVID-19 restrictions are easing. She also said she enjoyed CDS’s Teacher of the Year ceremony and appreciated the level of preparation that went into honoring educators who are making such a difference in the lives of students.

President Tingey thanked the Board and Administration, and dedication throughout the District, for the overwhelming amount of work shouldered this year in responding to the pandemic. She extends her congratulations to the Class of 2021, wishing them well in their college, career and life endeavors, and thanking them for their diligence this year.

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