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Pools draining classroom funds, could close, district says

By Celeste Tholen Rosenlof | Posted - Mar 22nd, 2013 @ 1:28pm



OGDEN — The Ogden School District said Thursday it could no longer afford the high cost of keeping pools in its high schools open, and hoped to transfer the pools to the city.

The pools at Ogden and Ben Lomond high schools cost the district about $260,000 annually. Both pools, which were built in the 1970s, need significant mechanical renovation and updates to the facilities, which would cost $550,000 and $500,000 per pool, respectively, the Ogden Board of Education said.

"We've sort of worn out of facility. We've come to a point where all of a sudden there was a moment when we realized we were losing a foot to a foot and a half of water out of the Ogden High School pool a week," said Ogden School District Donna Corby, Community Relations administrator.

Currently, the district subsidies come from classroom funds, but it can no longer afford the pools and their upkeep. The school district has been maintaining the pools since 1990, when the city transferred their management to the district. Rather than close the facilities, the district said it would submit a proposal to the city for a referendum about future pool operation.

"We hope the community comes behind us and says things like, 'you know our high school swim teams are important to us, the ability to have access to a pool and to teach our children to swim is important to us.' And the Boy Scouts step up and say, 'this is where we get our swimming merit badge.' And our fourth-grade swim program: we need to get our fourth graders in the pool and teach them how to swim," Corby said.

If passed by voters, homeowners of an average-priced Ogden home, worth $120,000, would see a tax increase of $2.10 a month or $20-25 annually. The district expects the measure to be proposed on June 25.

"Closing the pools, or increasing taxes to keep the pools open, are serious matters. Since this issue implicates our entire community, rather than only district operations, the Ogden Board of Education feels strongly that the entire community should be involved in the decision," the district wrote in a press release. "Pool operation is secondary to the Ogden School District's core mission and it is necessary to end our direct subsidy."

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