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SALT LAKE CITY — The Granite School District Board of Education voted this week to close Millcreek, Twin Peaks and Spring Lane elementary schools.
Steve Hogan, director of planning and boundaries for the school district, presented the Population Analysis Committee's recommendation for the proposed school closures. He said this decision has been a process that started in January and has included a "significant amount of feedback," efforts in communication with communities through postcards, text, emails, newsletters and more, as well as almost 90 open meetings with members of the school communities.
The committee conducted a study with the goal of creating elementary schools with optimal enrollment of at least three teachers per grade level to "best serve our students and families."
It originally had three closure options, but ultimately decided the best option would be to close Millcreek, Twin Peaks and Spring Lane elementaries.
Hogan said the majority of Twin Peaks' students will move to Woodstock Elementary, and Twin Peaks' FLS special education program will be moved to Wilson Elementary. A large portion of Spring Lane students will go to Oakwood Elementary, along with its Chinese dual language immersion program.
Hogan spoke extensively during the board meeting about the outreach and community efforts the committee conducted to determine where to place Millcreek Elementary's Spanish dual language immersion program. After many extra meetings, conversations and analysis, Hogan said the committee decided the Spanish program would be moved to William Penn Elementary School.
The principals at Millcreek Elementary and William Penn Elementary are already hard at work, with both community councils and their PTA organizations, to start this transition and make it work, Hogan said.
A few members of the public spoke during the public hearing section of the board meeting Wednesday.
Sherry Anderson, a staff member at James E. Moss Elementary, said she was sad some schools will be losing kids as a result of changing boundaries. She also mentioned how much she appreciated the efforts of the committee to listen to concerns, discuss questions and hold extra meetings to fully understand how the community was feeling.
Anderson said that although she is sad about the decision, she is happy and grateful to know the committee and board took their time thinking through the decision to choose what will be best for the children and she is excited about the new students her school will receive as well.
Granite Education Association President Michele Jones spoke to the board and expressed the association's support to close the three elementary schools.
"We laud the effort the district took to educate and collect stakeholder feedback," Jones said. "This hard decision is the right decision."
"This hard decision is the right decision."
–Michele Jones, Granite Education Association
Julie Jackson, a Granite School Board member, said although she is sad to say she supports closing schools, she believes the consolidation will "bring about more opportunities for kids to reach their potential as they benefit from more resources and opportunities."
Granite Board of Education President Karyn Winder said she sincerely believes closing the schools is in the best interest of the kids because it will give them the opportunity to have the best education possible.
She assured community members in attendance that the school board and the Population Analysis Committee listened to everyone's feedback and comments on this situation throughout the last year and that this decision was not an easy one.
Winder acknowledged that there will be individuals who are saddened by the board's decision but she hopes the families of Granite School District can work together to rebuild the new communities that will be made through this change.
"We look forward to making this a positive thing," she said.
The motion to close the three schools carried unanimously among the board members.