Representative Greg Hughes
(KCPW News) A lawmaker from the west side of the Salt Lake Valley lost his bid last night to funnel $15 million from the Canyons School District to stabilize the struggling Jordan District. The House Education Committee decision came after more than two hours of testimony from the districts and dozens of parents and educators, with emotions running high. East-side lawmaker Representative Greg Hughes said after the testimony, one thing is clear:
“There’s clear frustration from the parents in the Jordan School District, and there’s frustration from parents that are in Canyons. I think the frustration that some of the parents in Jordan are feeling is some of the frustration that those that are in the new school district have been living with,” said Hughes.
The district division was finalized last year, but had been a contentious issue from the start. West side residents complain they never got an opportunity to vote for the district split in the first place, but lost the majority of their property tax base. And East side residents claim they’re paying off the lion’s share of the outstanding debt from the Jordan District. Representative Jim Bird’s bill would revisit the split and reallocate funding between the two districts to correct what he perceives as inequities.
Jordan School District parent Jodi Wilkey said she feels like the districts went through a divorce without determining who would pay the child support. With the bill failing yesterday, she said parents have a new message for the Jordan school board.
“I’m sure that the resounding cry there was ‘Raise our taxes so that we can take care of our kids.’ We’re willing to do our part, we just want the Canyons District to do their part now,” said Wilkey.
Bird’s bill failed in a three-to-11 vote that split along geographic lines.