Canyons Secures Aaa Bond Rating, Sells $80 Million in Bonds at Low Rate
Canyons has secured the highest of bond ratings and, as a result, sold $80 million in bonds at a low 2.95 percent interest rate on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012.
Moody’s Investors Service in early August assigned Canyons the highest possible Aaa bond rating and a stable outlook. Fitch Ratings also gave Canyons a AA+ bond rating and a positive outlook. The ratings largely reflect the District’s solid financial operations, and its large, mature tax base, the agencies reported.
The Board had authorized the issuance of up to $80 million in bonds last spring. The money from the bond sale will be used to rebuild Crescent View Middle School in Draper, Butler Middle School and complete Corner Canyon High School. This is the second sale from the $250 million in bonds voters approved in June 2010. Of that amount, $102 million in bonds have yet to be issued.
2013-2014 Athletic Eligibility Procedures Clarified
The Board clarified athletic eligibility procedures for students who will be included in Corner Canyon High School’s boundaries in the 2013-2014 school year.
Student athletes living in Corner Canyon boundaries will be automatically enrolled at, and have their athletic eligibility transferred to, Corner Canyon for the 2013-2014 year. This is standard procedure for new Utah high schools, Board Vice President Sherril Taylor said.
However, the Board noted that Corner Canyon’s new boundaries will include students now attending Alta and Jordan high schools. Should student athletes in Corner Canyon’s new boundaries wish to stay at their current high school, they can apply for a permit between now and Nov. 1, 2012. Board President Tracy Scott Cowdell said it is the Board’s intent that those students’ wishes be honored, and their athletic eligibility be maintained at their current schools. The Nov. 1 deadline matches that of Canyons’ Open Enrollment window.
The District will notify the Utah High School Activities Association of the Board’s unanimous approval of these procedures. For more information or to listen to the Board discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 8D.
Facilities Director Rick Conger updated the Board on the progress of building projects and facility upgrades affecting nearly half of Canyons District schools:
The new Midvale Elementary and reconstructed Albion Middle School will open when school starts Aug. 27. The new Butler Middle School and Corner Canyon High School are on schedule to open in August 2013.
Construction has begun on the new Crescent View Middle School location in Draper, which is scheduled to be enclosed in January 2013 to allow for finishing work. Academic, administrative and cafeteria areas are scheduled to be completed at the start of school in August 2013.
The new Bengal Building, located behind Brighton High School, is scheduled to house students in the spring. It will allow for ADA and classroom upgrades to begin in the main building.
Hillcrest High School’s classroom addition is to be completed in August 2013; the refurbished football field, track and stadium is to be ready next week.
Nine of 12 air-conditioning projects will be completed by the Aug. 27 start of school. Crews are installing temporary evaporative coolers at Midvalley and Peruvian Park elementaries and Union Middle School to start the academic year, as cooling projects there will be completed in October due to constraints of staff, tight deadlines and vendor and equipment availability. The District will bring water bottles and popsicles to help keep kids cool at those schools.
Draper Elementary upgrades are complete, and include a new roof, seismic and HVAC work and skylights in classrooms.
Willow Canyon will be ready for school to start, with upgrades to the kitchen, cafeteria, restrooms, classroom millwork and skylights, lighting, carpet, and paint.
Demolition is ongoing to the shuttered Cottonwood Heights Elementary. In its place will be eight tennis courts, soccer fields for school and community use, additional parking, and restroom areas. The project is scheduled for an August 2013 completion.
Several elementary schools also received upgrades to their computer labs and playgrounds.
For more information or to listen to the Board discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 7A.
Grade Reconfiguration Planning Update
The Board received updates on grade reconfiguration, which will take effect in fall 2013, and academic initiatives.
Human Resources Director Steve Dimond and his team have been working with the Canyons Education Association for more than a year on the logistics of grade reconfiguration in the 2013-2014 school year, when ninth-graders move to high schools and sixth-graders move to middle schools. The change is expected to result in about one-fourth of employees teaching at a different location or in a different subject. The team has been providing, and will continue to provide, information to employees about the transition. It also will post online additional details about critical hiring dates, which will begin with Corner Canyon High School staffing, and a number of designated times in which teachers can express job preferences.
Dimond also submitted a proposal to adjust staffing formulas to ensure a smooth transition during grade reconfiguration and to add counselors in secondary schools. The Board indicated it will vote on the proposal in the next meeting.
In academics, Evidence-Based Learning leaders noted all schools this year will have achievement coaches and education technology specialists. These employees will work to improve teachers’ professional learning and ultimately, student achievement. New teachers will have more peer coaches and support in the coming school year.
Teachers’ computer equipment also has been updated, and they have received a range of professional development to improve their use of technology in the classroom.
The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the June 12 and June 26 meeting minutes; purchasing bids; Home School Affidavit; foreign exchange student enrollment; July hires and terminations; policy revisions; administrative appointments; the sale of the CTEC house; and the purchase of a Draper home near the new Crescent View Middle School site. The Board also approved student overnight travel for Alta Baseball, Theatre and Wrestling; CTE FCCLA; and Jordan Cross Country and Volleyball. The Board also determined it would to meet on the following dates: Sept. 18; Oct. 2 and Oct. 16; Nov. 13; Dec. 4; Jan. 8. The Board’s Apex Awards will be held Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. at Solitude Resort.
For more information or to listen to the Board discussion, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 5.
Denice Hyer asked if the new Mount Jordan Middle School would include a swimming pool and where students will be educated during the rebuild so she can make informed decisions during the District’s Open Enrollment period. Board President Tracy Scott Cowdell assured her that students at Mount Jordan and Jordan High School would have access to a swimming facility, as would students at Hillcrest High and Midvale Middle School.
Steve Van Maren had questions regarding financial reports on the Board’s Consent Agenda and asked for more information about that and a purchase order.
To listen to the comments, please visit BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 4.
Administrative Appointments Ratified
The Board ratified the following administrative appointments, effective immediately:
Brian McGill, who was originally selected for an administrative position at Alta High, will be the Assistant Principal at Corner Canyon High. He replaces Alan Parrish, who resigned to accept an administrative position in Granite District.
Justin Matagi, who had been transferred to Midvale Middle, will return to Alta High School as an Assistant Principal. He replaces McGill.
Ben “B.J.” Weller, who had accepted the position as assistant principal at Oak Hollow and Willow Springs elementary schools, will become the Assistant Principal at Midvale Middle, replacing Matagi.
Superintendent David Doty said he has been recovering from a compound fracture and resulting surgery following a mountain biking accident earlier this month. He said he plans to return to work full time next week. He commended staff for their hard work throughout the summer, and Human Resources leadership for communicating with employees on matters related to grade reconfiguration. He also commended architects and construction workers for work to implement air-conditioning and building upgrades, which should make for a smoother start of school.
Chief Financial Officer’s Report
CFO and General Counsel Keith Bradford said the District’s Budget Book is now publicly available, and will present it to the Government Finance Officers Association and the Association of School Business Officials International for review for budgetary awards, as earned by the District last year. To view the report, visit www.canyonsdisrict.org, and click on the “About” tab.
Steve Wrigley enjoyed ribbon-cutting events at Midvale Elementary and Albion Middle School, and lauded the work on the new buildings. He also said he hopes for additional funding for public schools next legislative session.
Mont Millerberg said while he wishes all schools would have full air-conditioning when school starts next week, having it in all but three schools is a major accomplishment. He thanked staff who ensured Canyons had a presence in the Midvale Harvest Days parade. He lauded the new Midvale Elementary and Board colleagues who caught the vision of what was needed in the Midvale community. He said the school will be a focal point in the city.
Sherril Taylor thanked the staff and administration for their work, and said he is looking forward to the new school year.
Tracy Cowdell wished employees, students and families well as they prepare for the new school year. He noted his children in one more year will begin high school and middle school with grade reconfiguration, which he said will give ninth-graders more academic choices and rigor, and allow middle schools to maintain focus on early adolescents’ learning needs. He said that while he may be a little nervous, he knows his children and others will do well in the transition. He said he is amazed with what the District has been able to accomplish in the past two years, including increased focus on college- and career-readiness and better academics and facilities, just as the Board set out to do.
Kim Horiuchi enjoyed attending ribbon-cutting ceremonies at Midvale Elementary and Albion Middle, and said the events brought communities together. She attended the USBA delegates meeting, where legislators spoke about issues and upcoming school bills, including one on equalization. She said that bill did not make it to USBA’s legislative agenda, which sets as top priorities funding enrollment growth and boosting the per-student funding formula, the WPU, by 1 percent. She said she unsuccessfully lobbied delegates to seek a higher WPU increase at the 2013 legislative session, but suggested Canyons continue working with the Legislature on District needs.
Kevin Cromar said he had a great summer, and that his family is starting a new chapter in life because he is not seeking re-election. He visited family, including 10 grandchildren, and went on a Mediterranean cruise. He said he’s grateful for the United States and the educational opportunities here. He thanked the Board for supporting construction projects and the Albion renovation. He said more has happened now to unite rather than divide the Board.
Paul McCarty thanked Horiuchi for her courage in advocating for a greater WPU increase at the USBA delegates meeting. He noted nearly half of Canyons schools are receiving upgrades, which illustrates a level of commitment from the Board that would be hard to find elsewhere. He also praised the Budget Book’s organizational chart, which places the public at the top of the list.
The Board met in closed session for the purpose of discussing the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of an individual; pending or reasonably imminent litigation; collective bargaining; and the purchase, exchange, or lease of real property.