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Board Meeting Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014

Bond Counsel: Old Jordan Bond Refinance Would Save CSD Taxpayers $2.4 Million

Canyons bond counsel Preston Kirk, Senior Vice President of George K. Baum & Associates, presented a proposal to refinance the Old Jordan Debt, resulting from the bond former Jordan School District voters passed in 2003, prior to Canyons’ creation. The proposed refinancing would allow Canyons to save about $330,000 per year in interest payments, or $2.4 million over eight years. Canyons’ bond repayment timeline likely would not change, and bonds would be repaid in 2023, but at a lower rate of interest. The Canyons Board plans to discuss in its Feb. 4 meeting a draft Interlocal Agreement with Jordan District. The Jordan Board is expected to discuss the matter in its meeting next week.

The Board started to discuss what it might do with the savings should it vote to refinance, but President Sherril Taylor said that discussion was for another day.

To listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 2A.

USBA Conference Information Shared

Board Member Kim Horiuchi, Board Vice President Steve Wrigley and Second Vice President Nancy Tingey attended the Utah School Boards Association Meeting last week with Interim Superintendent Dr. Ginger Rhode and Interim CFO Leon Wilcox. Dr. Rhode attended a Washington School District Administration and Board of Education presentation about effective efforts to raise student achievement when facing No Child Left Behind sanctions. She noted the Board adopted and held fast to a resolution outlining expectations for teachers and principals; standardized curriculum and instructional strategies; offered teachers subject endorsement opportunities and extensive professional development despite a lack of funding; implemented teacher collaboration time; and provided student interventions. She noted Canyons has implemented many of those strategies, and looks forward to increased student achievement in the coming years.

Wrigley, Tingey and Board Member Robert Green indicated they would be available to represent Canyons at the USBA Delegate Assembly Aug. 9, 2014.

To listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 2B.

Board Receives Fiscal Accountability Policy Input, New Draft

Kim Horiuchi reported on feedback received from a 24-member task force empaneled to help the Board develop a feasible, transparent fiscal accountability policy and meet requirements of state law. The proposed policy aims to be transparent about how money is raised and spent in the District. It also aims to give schools autonomy in making key decisions, while also providing support at the District and Foundation levels. A policy training component was recommended, as was a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Canyons Board of Education and Canyons School District Education Foundation Board of Directors.

State Board of Education administrative rules require school districts to adopt and implement new policies governing fiscal practices and accountability for funds raised by high schools, athletic teams and booster clubs. Policies must include a district finance committee to develop internal controls, review financial statements at the district and school level, and coordinate with external auditors. They also must govern cash handling, expenditure of public funds, fund-raising procedures at the district and school level, and donations and gifts. The Board discussed earlier drafts in fall 2013.

To view the proposal or listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 8A.

Board Action

The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the Jan. 7 Minutes; December Financial Reports; and the Home School Affidavit. The Board also approved overnight travel for the following student groups: All high schools’ Business/FBLA and Marketing/DECA teams; Hillcrest Baseball; and Jordan Drill. The Board also approved the Purchasing Bids following a discussion about equipment and technology expenditures at Corner Canyon High and technology funding equity for other CSD schools.

To listen to the discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 7.

Outstanding Students, Employees Recognized

The Board recognized four outstanding employees, a student team, and 17 students for their academic and athletic achievements, as noted by state and national groups. They are:

– Sebasthian Varas, CSD Director of Nutrition Services: Elected Vice President of the School Nutrition Association of Utah (SNAU)
Karen Durfee, Jordan High: $20,000 Prize, Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest 
Rick Krause, Albion Middle: Outstanding Elementary Science Teacher, Utah Science Teacher Association 
Doug Hallenbeck, Union Middle: 2014 Utah Assistant Principal of the Year, Utah Association of Secondary School Principals 
– Kramer Morton, Alta High Cross Country: No. 23 in Nation
Hillcrest Forensics: 2012-2013 Leading Chapter Award, Sundance District, National Forensics League
– Tanner Thompson, Hillcrest: Deseret News Region 2 Offensive MVP
– Jackson Barton, Brighton; Baron Bruce, Alta: 2013 American Family Insurance All-USA Utah Football Team
– Austin Kafentzis, Jordan: Offensive Player of the Year, 2013 American Family Insurance All-USA Utah Football Team
– Academic All-State:
o 5A Boys Golf (team GPA 3.997): Logan Reese, Hillcrest
o 5A Boys Cross Country (team GPA 4.0): Keven Yeh, Brighton; Jaren Croft, Hillcrest
o 5A Volleyball (team GPA 4.0): Hannah Vander Heide, Alta; Lyndie Mitchell, Brighton
o 5A Girls Tennis (team GPA 4.0): Jessie Brown, Brighton; Michelle Simmons, Hillcrest
o 5A Girls Cross Country (team GPA 4.0): Rebecca Clark, Alta; Tavia Dutson, Jordan
o 5A Football (team GPA 4.0): Paul Geilman, Alta; Christian Child, Hillcrest; Robert Johnson, Jordan.

Patron Comments

Parent Quinn Silcox said she left elementary parent teacher conferences frustrated because of the new report card offered little information about student progress. She said other parents expressed similar frustrations at a town hall meeting with two Board representatives. She suggested the District improve usability of the online parent toolkit, and asked the Board to reexamine the report card’s implementation.

Interim Superintendent’s Report

Dr. Rhode noted a dramatic increase in SRI middle school reading scores, which she said was an indication of changes in the elementary reading curriculum and instruction and reading intervention offered at the middle schools. She noted she attended the USBA Conference last week. She also observed the I CAN DO (Inspiring Children About Not Dropping Out) program at Midvalley Elementary, in which Ballet West dancers teach dance to fifth-graders. She said the boys and girls say they love it, and will perform with other participating schools in the spring. She said CSD hosted legislators at a luncheon and pre-legislative discussion last week, and characterized the meeting as a positive exchange of ideas. Today, she joined Tingey, Taylor and Wrigley at the community celebration for the Edgemont and Bell View after-school program, which included students, program leaders and teachers, and Real Salt Lake’s lion mascot, Leo. The program includes crafts, sports, homework help and tutoring for participating students.

Interim CFO’s Report

Wilcox noted that the Board’s vote to approve the Purchasing Bids completed Canyons’ goal to meet minimum technology requirements in all CSD teaching spaces, as designated by principals. He thanked the Board for meeting the goal. He enjoyed the USBA conference, and said an equalization proposal by Utah Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, would require a statewide tax increase, and that Canyons children would not receive any proceeds from it. He noted the Legislative Session begins Monday.

Board Reports

Green visited Midvale Middle School and noted old amenities there including a basement shelter. He enjoyed visiting with principal Frank Schofield, who he said shared great passion and excitement for his job. He said grade reconfiguration brought all new sixth- and seventh-graders to Midvale, allowing Schofield to create a new school culture. He also visited with Copperview Elementary  principal Chanci Loran, who he praised for her passion for education. He said he appeared on the Copperview students’ morning newscast, and praised the wonderful educators there.

Horiuchi requested an agenda item. She requested that the Board in the next meeting discuss placing a multi-use field next to Butler Middle School. She said it’s time the Board make decisions on the property, and asked staff to come prepared to report on the feasibility of a multi-use field in that location.

Tingey enjoyed the USBA conference. She attended Rep. Brian King’s legislative hot topics session, where he recommended Districts invite legislators to visit schools. She said she is appreciative of CSD’s partnership with area legislators. She also attended a conference session about transformative use of technology, in which CSD’s work was referenced, and a workshop spotlighting Utah’s changing demographics. She suggested the Board drill down into demographics in specific neighborhoods and identify needs. She also met with the Cottonwood Heights City Council, and appreciates the relationship CSD has with the council. She praised the after-school program celebration. She said the program is the epitome of a partnership with multiple entities who share the goal of providing children with a better future, and thanked Salt Lake County, Sandy City, Boys & Girls Clubs and other partners for their efforts.

Wrigley attended the USBA session on why school boards matter, and noted opportunities for achieve Master Board Awards. He also took a class on career and technical education opportunities for students, in which Utah College of Applied Technology representatives encouraged districts to partner with UCAT. He attended another workshop that suggested districts reach out more to parents to educate them on the new core and paradigm shift in education. He noted the world now requires students possess skills that are different from what parents learned when they were in school. He also attended a demonstration of the new statewide SAGE computerized testing, and said parents need outreach to understand that the test will be more rigorous than past tests. He said CSD is heading in right direction in terms of innovations for students.

Iverson on Saturday went to the CSD Ski & Shred Night at Brighton Ski Resort with family and friends, to ski and support the Foundation. He suggested Canyons have signage to mark their presence at the event in the future. He said he appreciated Silcox’s comments tonight, and that he has heard from other parents with similar experiences. He said we have a good start in standards-based report cards, but more work could be done to fine-tune the product.

Taylor thanked the Student Advisory Council for attending the meeting. He excused Board Member Tracy Cowdell, who had an emergency today and was unable to attend. He also thanked the communications staff for their work on today’s community celebration of the afterschool program and Board Recognitions.

Closed Session

The Board met in closed session for the purpose of discussing pending or reasonably imminent litigation.

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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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