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Public Voices Opinion on School District Split

Public Voices Opinion on School District Split

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Tonya Papanikolas ReportingA proposal to split the Granite School District along the Jordan River could be in jeopardy. Tuesday night the Salt Lake County Council heard public input. Parents will know soon if the proposal is moving forward.

The County Council is going to decide next week whether or not voters will be deciding this issue for themselves in November. Before that happens, legislators and concerned parents on both sides wanted to make sure their voices were heard.

People overflowed the County Council Chambers to hear public arguments for and against putting a Granite School District split on the ballot in November. Many wore signs urging council members to "vote no to the district split." And one councilman feels that's probably what is going to happen.

Joe Hatch, a Salt Lake County Councilman, said, "If I was betting today, I don't think it would be put on the ballot."

Hatch says his fellow council members seem to be leaning towards not putting the split to a public vote, but the hearing did draw out feelings from both sides of the issue.

John Haglund, who's against splitting the district, says, "As a taxpayer, I'm concerned about the amount of increase I would suffer as a result of this split."

Nicolle Bangerter favors splitting the Granite and Jordan Districts. She says, "I think that it's just too big and we need to split it. I would like a stronger voice. I would like not only my voice to be stronger, but my teacher's, my principal's."

Feasibility studies have showed splitting the district would financially benefit the east-side schools while putting a strain on the west-side schools. Tuesday night, legislators said they want to fix this issue and clear up questions. But the big question is: do we move forward now and wait for the legislature to fix the problems, or put off the vote until the issues can be resolved?

Haglund says, "I think the public as a whole needs more information."

Anna Claire Shepard, who favors the split says, "The legislature will have two full years to come up with the best legislation to address the issue."

And Bangerter says, "We need to split, divide and then go forward and start fixing some of these issues."

South Salt Lake has already voted to put the proposed split on the ballot. Holladay is voting on Thursday, then Salt Lake County next week. If any of the cities or counties votes no, then it will not go before any of the voters.

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