Canyons district fighting back against HB 292

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SANDY - Saturday we told you about a bill that would equalize the money between the Jordan and Canyons school districts, since their split last year. On Sunday, the Canyons District spoke out against the bill.

The proposed bill is causing a lot of contention between both districts. The Jordan side is in favor because it would get more money. But, as we found out on Sunday, the Canyons side says it's not going to let this pass.

Canyons District Superintendent David Doty says, "We're not flush with cash. We're facing the same budget scenario that everyone else is right now."

If House Bill 292 passes, the Canyons School District could lose millions of dollars a year. That money, according to the bill, would help the Jordan District take better care of its students.

Doty says arbitrators already divided assets fairly in the split.

"We're paying 59 percent of their outstanding debt for new schools. We're fulfilling our obligation to help them do what they need to do," he says.

However, Jordan parents say the bill is necessary. If it doesn't pass, the district will have to lay off 500 employees, including 250 teachers.

Parent Jolynne Alger told KSL, "When it comes to education, I believe every child deserves a free, high-quality education."

The Jordan School District says before the split it received about $1,600 per student from the state. After the split, Jordan went down to about $1,200 while the Canyons School District received roughly $2,200 per student. If the bill passes, both districts will receive the same amount per student -- $1,600.

That means the Canyons would lose about $15 million per year. It's a major concern for parents.

Parent Wendy Barlow said, "Our schools are falling apart, and our kids have to be bused to go to middle school three to four miles away."

Barlow has four children in school. She says they face severe overcrowding; other parents say it's the old buildings that need to be fixed.

Parent Julie Clawson said, "We have schools that do not meet seismic codes that would pancake on top of each other if there were an earthquake."

"We want what's best for our kids, and if that means getting groups together to fight this, we will do that," Barlow said.

The Canyons District says it has different valuations per student than the Jordan District is estimating. It remains to be seen which side proves to be most accurate up on the hill.


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