Board Seeks $250 Million Bond; Tax Rates Would Hold Steady
The Canyons Board of Education is seeking a $250 million, tax-rate-neutral bond to renovate or rebuild aging schools, build a new high school in Draper, and forward the District’s efforts to better prepare students for college and careers. The bond proposal would keep the debt service tax rate constant over time. For example, as Canyons’ payments on the 2003 old Jordan District bond start to drop off, Canyons’ payments on the new bond would ramp up, holding debt service tax rates steady. In addition, the District anticipates using other available funds to make debt payments on the bonds to maximize borrowing power and negate the impact on the taxpayer. The money would be used for projects in elementary, middle and high schools districtwide. The bond election is set for June 22. Click here for more information.
Facilities Plan Discussed
The Board discussed the possibility of funding several projects with the proposed bond, including building a new high school in Draper; upgrading high schools; upgrading Albion, Crescent View and Indian Hills middle schools; rebuilding Midvale, Mount Jordan, and Butler middle schools; providing seismic upgrades to Sandy Elementary; upgrading or rebuilding Butler Elementary; and rebuilding Midvale Elementary and a school in the White City community. The Board is expected to finalize its project list on April 20, after which it will distribute voter information materials and hold a series of public information meetings.
Patron Comments: Bella Vista parent Lynette Speyer said full-time literacy facilitators benefit children in reading and the school community as a whole, and disagrees with the District’s decision to replace them with literacy coaches.
Resident Patty Christensen noted a $250 million bond is an awful lot of money in a tough economy and wanted to know specifics of the proposal.
Mark Johnson, speaking on behalf of an Albion parent group, is concerned about the way Principal Odom was transferred to an assistant principal position Brighton High. He said patrons felt they were not heard, and that the process was not fair to Mr. Odom or the District and would like to see it done better in the future. He also presented a letter asking the Board to reconsider the transfer.
Wendy Hawkins, Mt. Jordan Middle School, asked the Board to reinstate the cluster team leader position at her school.
Deanna Lambson, Albion PTA president-elect, complained about the way Principal Odom’s transfer was communicated to the community, and that patrons didn’t have an opportunity to voice their dismay at last week’s community meeting. She wished a letter to the community had gone further to praise Mr. Odom’s character. She requested improved future communications, and hoped to work with District to ensure the best candidate is hired as the new principal.
Board Reports: Kevin Cromar praised the sportsmanship and athleticism of the Middle School Intramurals 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament. He also praised Brighton High soccer players for receiving scholarships; Brighton’s ProStart students, who won a statewide culinary competition and who will compete on a national level, and Jordan Valley’s production of The Wizard of Oz. He reported on the Governor’s Economic Summit, where a retired economist lamented Utah’s low funding for public education. He also shared comments from a speaker admonishing school boards for lack of innovation something the person never could project on the Canyons Board. He suggested the District examine energy-efficient building design for potential facilities upgrades.
President Tracy Cowdell praised the Board’s action on facilities and bonding. He recognized a candidate for the Board of Education in the audience, and suggested the Board invite other candidates to a meeting so the Board could get to know them.
Sherril Taylor noted the Utah High School Activities Association denied Hillcrest High’s petition to move from 5A to 4A designation in light of declining enrollment. However, he said the UHSAA created a committee to examine Hillcrest’s request, which he hoped could be realized in the next year.
Paul McCarty thanked dozens of patrons for attending the Board meeting, and hoped even more would attend in the future.