School Districts Prepare for "Back to School"

School Districts Prepare for "Back to School"

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Coco Warner ReportingFor many Utah school districts the school year starts in just a matter of weeks. But "back to school" means two different things for the Salt Lake and Jordan school districts as one deals with rapid growth and the other school closures.

It's fairly quiet at Lowell Elementary; that's because Lowell was one of two elementary schools to close last year in the Salt Lake school district, partly due to the lack of students. But the Jordan school district has the opposite problem -- they can't seem to build schools fast enough.

Jennifer Hebertson, Foothill Elementary Teacher: "We're kind of feeling that crunch, like is everything going to be ready to go? But as teachers, we're really, really excited."

The first day of school can be somewhat nerve-wracking under normal circumstances, but when it's less than a week away and you just got access to the building four days ago, it can be even more nerve-wracking. Foothill Elementary School has been under construction for 11 months and is scheduled to start its year-round program August 18th.

Kyle Hansen, Foothill Elementary Principal: "The parents came and volunteered and they helped us separate all the supplies, materials, equipment and it's going out in the classrooms right now."

You could call it the tale of two school districts. Foothill Elementary is the third completed school of 22 planned new schools for the Jordan District. Meanwhile, the Salt Lake school district closed two elementary schools, Lowell and Rosalyn Heights.

Jason Olsen, Salt Lake School District: "So for the Salt Lake district, over the past few years we've actually lost a few students, like maybe 100 or so every year and our projections show that continuing to happen. But what's happening on the east side of I-15 we're seeing fewer and fewer young families, so we're losing a few of the younger children."

But closures or new buildings have the same result for students -- a new school to attend. Students of Lowell will be divided among Wasatch, Ensign and Hawthorne Elementary Schools, while former Rosalyn Heights students will go to Dillworth. Foothill Elementary will absorb 700 plus students from Herriman Elementary.

A new year, a new school, a new start.

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