I will be voting on a measure where I live to split the Jordan School District into two smaller districts. I think this is a good move. Sure, there are always challenges with running smaller districts – like perhaps not being able to have as many sports programs. Community schools and smaller districts are a better solution to revamping our current model than school vouchers that will not benefit public education at all.
Are small districts better?
There is no doubt in Brian Allen’s mind: A smaller school district would be a better school district: more responsive to community needs; swifter action on parents’ input; an eagerness to try something new, to deliver a better product to kids.
There is no doubt in Betty Shaw’s mind: Jordan School District is a great school district right now: high graduation rates; top-notch programs; responsive to community and parent needs; an overall great product now jeopardized.
Never before have voters gone to the polls to split a Utah school district. Advocates present research indicating a smaller school district will be better for kids and community involvement. But a University of Utah professor hired by east-side Granite District cities to review the research says the jury’s still out on whether smaller is better.
Tuesday, voters in West Jordan, Sandy, Draper, Midvale, Alta and Cottonwood Heights will decide whether to split the state’s largest school district east-west along the Jordan River and create a separate West Jordan city school district. For many, the decision will come down to philosophy and finance.
The new east district would have about 33,500 students — a far cry from the some 80,000 in Jordan District now — and become Utah’s fifth-largest. A West Jordan District would have about 21,000 students.
I’m voting no on the split… for now
My biggest concern with the split is that we’d be creating one school district with established campuses and one school district with a ton of new construction and land acquisition costs. I don’t think it’s fair to the west-side residents who paid for the east side schools to suddenly be out on their own. I agree with smaller districts in principle, but this specific split smacks of east-side selfishness (i.e. lower my taxes, the heck with everyone else). I’d be more willing to vote “yes” if the resultant districts had some kind of parity between them.
For the record, I live in White City and would be east-side.
Re: I’m voting no on the split… for now
That is a very valid point. However, I live in West Jordan and the west side of this part of the valley is growing by leaps and bounds and the east side schools are in jeopardy of closing.
I think you are are wise in your thinking though.