(KCPW News) Four Salt Lake County school districts will have to wait and see if the legislature repeals a controversial equalization law requiring them to send more than $10 million dollars to the Jordan School District each year. This morning, the Senate Education Committee put a hold on Democratic Senator Gene Davis’ bill, which would have undone the measure passed in 2008. Davis says equalization is important, but property taxes raised for local school improvements should be off limits.
“It shouldn’t be taking a million dollars out of one district and putting it in another because that money is as valuable in each district,” Davis says. “As we take a look at the education budget in the state of Utah being cut at the rate that is being proposed, that only puts a real, real double-whammy on the local school districts.”
In 2008, the Legislature passed an equalization bill to help the Jordan School District handle a rapidly growing student population. This occurred after residents on the east side of Salt Lake County voted to split off and form the Canyons district, drastically reducing the property tax base.
Jordan School District Superintendent Barry Newbold says eliminating this new source of funding right now would hurt.
“It doesn’t make sense to me to eliminate the current legislation and have nothing to replace it,” Newbold says. “So if it could remain in place while other legislation is being considered that would provide some equalization in the capital area, I would be very much in favor of that.”
The committee voted three-to-two to place the bill on hold. It’s now up to the committee chair to decide whether it will be reconsidered.