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Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011

Board Discusses Bond Projects Timeline in Light of Economic Downturn

The Canyons Board of Education is discussing building schedule options for the first five bond projects after learning property values are expected to decline again this year. This would be the third consecutive year of property value declines, unprecedented in recent memory. Declining property values would impact Canyons’ ability to collect sufficient tax revenue from its existing debt service levy to pay for the principal and interest on the total amount of new bonds needed to proceed with its current timeline.  The District also is legally bound to continue its payments on $213 million in old Jordan debt.

The Board noted it promised the public that its debt service levy would not be raised if voters approved the $250 million bond in June 2010, and remain committed to that pledge. In light of the financial projections, the Board discussed possible actions, including delaying all projects one year for a target fall 2014 completion and grade reconfiguration date; funding one or two projects at this time; or staying the course on all five projects in hopes of an economic rebound.

The five projects are: the rebuild of Midvale Elementary and Butler Middle School; a seismic retrofit for Sandy Elementary, a renovation of Albion Middle School and the building of a new high school in Draper. The current timeline would have the first five projects completed by fall 2013 to facilitate grade reconfiguration under the District’s career- and college-ready academic plan.

The Board will vote on the projects’ timeline in its March 1 meeting.

The Board decided not to take action on a proposed resolution to authorize the sale of $70 million in building bonds at this time.

Midvale Elementary Site Plan, New High School Design Approved

The Board voted to build a grades K-5 elementary school on the Midvale Middle School campus. The vote determines the site of the soon-to-be-rebuilt Midvale Elementary School will be on the nearby middle school campus, and allows students to remain in their current elementary school during construction. It also frees up the now vacant Cottonwood Heights Elementary School to be used to house Albion Middle School students during its extensive renovation project. The Board is expected to vote on the timeline of these projects in a March 1 meeting.

The Board also approved the design for the new high school in Draper. The design was adjusted by architects Sandstrom Associates to stay within budget and allow flexibility in academic programming. The design will allow for optional third gym, woodshop and auto shop, as well as other classrooms to be added now or later as needed. The Board also requested a committee be formed to examine career and technical education in Canyons School District.

Preschool Expansion Proposed

Early Childhood Administrator Terri Mitchell presented a proposal to expand preschool options for students in Canyons School District. The proposal follows a federal court case that requires special education preschool classes be integrated with regular-education students. Also, some parents are leaving Canyons for other school districts that offer preschool services. Preschool currently is offered to special education students at five locations, and to regular-education students at Sandy Elementary. Options include status quo; offering preschool at regionally accessible locations and add six classrooms; or putting at least one classroom in each elementary (for details, visit http://www.boarddocs.com/ut/canyons/Board.nsf/Public, and click on Study Session Item 1B). Tuition for non-disabled students largely could fund the program. The Board will discuss the proposal in a future meeting.

Patron Comments

Three patrons offered comments to the Board regarding SALTA at Midvale Middle School and career and technical education. Their testimony is posted at http://www.boarddocs.com/ut/canyons/Board.nsf/Public (click on Feb. 15 agenda, then item 4C).

Board Action

The Board approved the consent agenda, which includes: Feb. 1 minutes; purchasing bids, January financial reports; home school affidavit report; CAB cell tower lease agreement; foreign exchange students, second semester; Professional Development Academy; moratorium status for elementary schools in the 2011-2012 school year; and student overnight travel for Alta High AP Studio Art and Track & Field, CTE DECA, and the SSEP National Conference and Space Shuttle Launch.

Closed Session

The Board met in closed session or the purpose of discussing the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of an individual.


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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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