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Getting Involved

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Budget Addresses Shortfall, Restores Instructional Days, Maintains Class Size

The Board of Education approved a $303 million 2011-2012 budget that restores five instructional days and addresses a 3 percent decrease in state money and a 26 percent decrease in federal money by shifting existing money from buildings to operations as allowed under a new law.

The budget assumes continued funding for seven professional development days and step and lane increases on the teacher salary schedule; however, these items are still under negotiations with the teachers association. The budget includes maintaining class sizes at the current level. It also includes $1 million in cuts, including eliminating funding to schools for CSIP and reductions in District Office costs.

Following a public hearing, the Board voted to restore legislative interns and sweepers’ hours after Brighton High custodian Duane Chipman questioned custodians’ ability to maintain schools.  Canyons Education Association President Ross Rogers questioned why the budget contained $1.8 million for a new high school that isn’t yet open. Canyons Chief Financial Officer Keith Bradford said the money is a set aside for needs as the district prepares to open the school, and that unspent money would be used to mitigate possible budget cuts next fiscal year.

Board members praised the budget as remarkable for putting students first, maintaining class size, personnel, and tax levies, addressing salary steps and lanes and insurance increases, and adding teacher professional development in math despite a prolonged economic downturn.

To view the budget, please click here.

Canyons To Offer Online High School

The Board approved the July 15 launch of Canyons School District’s Online High School, a marketplace of educational offerings in core subjects as well as Advanced Placement courses, online laboratories, world languages,  make-up credits, and possibly, concurrent enrollment. The Online High School will be available to students inside and outside of Canyons School District. Students can take up to two credits in the first year via the Online High School, to free up their schedules for arts or other specialty areas, or allow them to get ahead on preparing for college and careers or recover missed credits. The courses are expected to be offered to students at no charge, and be taught by Canyons teachers, who would receive additional pay for their work and provide tutoring by phone, text or e-mail. Canyons already offers some online courses to adult students and youth in custody.

The Online High School comes under a new state law allowing online school providers to receive state per-student money. For details, click here and select Item 3B.

Architects Exhibit Designs, Color Schemes for Five School Projects

Architects exhibited designs, renderings and color schemes for the new high school in Draper, Butler and Albion middle schools, and Midvale and Sandy elementary schools in a public open house. The five projects represent the first phase of the $250 million bond voters approved one year ago to improve Canyons District schools. The District in April broke ground on the new high school, and is planning groundbreaking ceremonies for Butler Middle School and Midvale Elementary in August. Renovation work on Albion Middle and Sandy Elementary began this month. The renderings will be posted at

Board Action

The Board approved the negotiated agreement with the Canyons Education Support Professionals Association, and voted to purchase a house and property adjacent to Ridgecrest Elementary to improve traffic safety.

The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the May 17 minutes; purchasing bids; Board hires and terminations; May financial reports; the Alta High cell tower agreement; home school affidavit; and administrative appointments. The Board also approved student overnight travel for Alta AP Art History, Boys Basketball, Dance Company and Volleyball; Brighton Boys Baseball; CTE DECA; the Hillcrest Shakespeare Team; and the Jordan High Dance Company, Girls Soccer, and Girls Volleyball team.

The Board voted to discuss a curriculum proposal in the next meeting’s study session.


The Board recognized the following students and employees for outstanding achievement:

Nate Edvalson, Union Middle School counselor, named Counselor of the Year by the Utah School Counselor Association

Mary Bailey, Canyons Executive Director of K-16 Student Achievement in High Schools, named Administrator of the Year by the Utah Association for Career and Technical Education’s Guidance Division

Nancy Lunak, Canyons Work-Based Learning Coordinator, recipient of the Carl Perkins Award for Service from the Utah Association for Career and Technical Education’s Guidance Division

Anthony Cheng, Midvale Middle School student and fifth-place national winner in the National Geographic Bee and picked to represent Utah in the national MATHCOUNTS competition

Midvale Middle School MATHCOUNTS Team for competing at the state competition

Eastmont seventh-grade and Indian Hills Middle School eighth- and ninth-grade intramural soccer teams, which won the inaugural districtwide Middle School Intramurals Soccer Tournament

Brighton Boys Tennis Team, 5A State Champions

Alta Boys Soccer Team, 5A State Champions

Alta Girls Lacrosse and Brighton Boys Lacrosse, High School State Champions

Brighton Boys Soccer Team, recipient, inaugural Superintendent’s Award of Distinction for Demonstration of Exemplary Character

Patron Comments

Five employees spoke on behalf of hall monitors, who they said wear many hats to help students and provide school security, and urged the board to keep hall monitors a full-time position. President Tracy Cowdell said the Board has no intention of changing the status of the hall monitor position.

Four residents from the Galena Hills subdivision in Draper urged the Board to draw their neighborhood in the boundary of the new high school in Draper as they continue deliberations on districtwide boundary proposals. They were concerned about maintaining a sense of community within Draper.

Three Canyons Education Association members urged the Board to maintain negotiated agreements they feel give them a voice in policy matters. One was hopeful the CEA and Board would be able to come together, but feared the Board may look to retirement funds to balance the budget. Chief Financial Officer Keith Bradford said retirement funds would not be used in such a manner.

Two parents of students with special needs said they wanted to learn more about state budget cuts to special education and how they would affect programs and staffing.

Canyons Education Support Professionals Association President Gary Martensen thanked the Board and the negotiating teams for coming to an agreement on behalf of employees. He said he felt confident that the Board will not cut hall monitors. Cowdell praised him for his hard work.

Michael Hauptman, Midvale Elementary patron, presented an 82-signature petition to remain in the Midvale Elementary boundary as the Board deliberates boundary options.

Ross Rogers, CEA President and Canyons elementary education technology specialist, thanked the Board for asking the teachers union to come back to the negotiating table, and said the CEA is willing to do so. He requested the District negotiations team include a person authorized to sign off on agreement to make negotiations more efficient.

To listen to patron comments, please click here and select the June 21 Agenda, Item 7.

Board Reports

Mont Millerberg thanked those who put together the budget for their hard work.

Paul McCarty recognized Canyons Facilities Director Rick Conger and Crescent View Middle Principal Greg Leavitt for finding an economical way to close many classrooms to promote a quieter learning environment.

Vice President Sherril Taylor recognized Alta, Hillcrest and Jordan high schools for receiving the School Sportsmanship Award from the Utah High Schools Activities Association.

President Cowdell praised the passage of the budget, noting such action is the Board’s most important vote of the year. He lamented more patrons did not come to listen to the budget, and thanked Chipman for his public input, noting it resulted in an immediate adjustment.

Kevin Cromar attended the Art Consortium meeting, and noted elementary bands would be eliminated, but string programs retained in elementaries because of instructor turnover. The consortium is looking at creating a mariachi band in Midvale. He praised Federal and State Programs Director Karen Sterling for securing a Native American art grant. He reported the Utah School Boards Association’s Legislative Committee’s legislative priorities include restoring Social Security and retirement and increasing state per-student funding.  He expressed concern about a proposal to replace the CRT end-of-level test with adaptive testing, and a state proposal to adopt a differentiated diploma because it might conflict with Canyons’ Advanced and Honors diplomas. He thanked the Board for the honor of representing the Board at the 100th Jordan High commencement.

Kim Horiuchi thanked Brighton High School for hosting the Board meeting. She thanked Brighton and Entrada Adult High School for  including her in their commencement ceremonies, which she called the best part of being a Board member. She thanked Superintendent David Doty for creating the Superintendent’s Award of Distinction and presenting it at the Brighton commencement. She praised Dr. Doty’s choice to give it to the Brighton Boys Soccer Team, and said she hopes the award  becomes a commencement tradition.

Steve Wrigley agreed commencements are a highlight for Board members, and attended the South Park Academy graduation at the Utah State Prison. He thanked teachers for working with the Board on the budget.

Closed Session

The Board met in closed session to discuss 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.

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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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