What Did the District Split Cost?

In 2009 Canyons School District split off from Jordan School District. Now, South Jordan City is funding a district split feasibility study. This has many taxpayers asking what were the financial costs to split the District five years ago. Below are the known costs to separate, broken into three areas; one-time costs, tax rates, and administrative costs. Not included, are the human costs (i.e. lost jobs, morale, productivity, turnover, other duplicated jobs, etc.) that cannot be accurately quantified.

Total Known One-Time Costs of the District Split:

Arbitration $0.359 Million
East Side Split Costs Paid by Jordan School District* $6.144 Million
West Side Split Costs Paid by Jordan School District
Legal fees, moving costs, unemployment insurance, etc. $2.926 Million
Computer / Network System $2.797 Million
District Office Improvements to unfinished building $3.739 Million
District Office Rent $1.468 Million
District Office Purchase $9.207 Million
ASB Office Improvements to blighted property $13.493 Million
ASB Office Rent $1.713 Million
ASB Office Purchase $15.3 Million
Transportation Improvements $2.019 Million
Total West Costs $52.662 Million
Total District Split Costs $59.165 Million

* JSD only tracked the first $6.144 million of East Side costs.  Canyons tracked beyond this.

Tax Rates
The chart below shows the history of tax rates before and after the split. After the district split, taxes increased to compensate for the additional costs of operating two districts instead of one.

Tax Rates

It is clear tax rates are higher today in large part due to the district split. Tax rates increased 20.00% for Jordan and 16.75% for Canyons from 2008-09 to 2009-10.  It is difficult to quantify the direct tax impact of the district split due to changes in assessed valuation, student growth, opening of new schools, the county-wide capital equalization program, changes in debt service payments, Canyons successful bond election, etc.

Administrative Costs per Student
The chart below shows the history of administrative costs per student before and after the split.  The chart also shows the combined administrative cost per student for all taxpayers (grey line).

Administrative Costs Per Student

Before the split, Jordan’s administrative costs per student were $540. Since the split, Jordan’s costs have increased to $561, while Canyon’s have increased to $863 per student. The post-split combined costs have increased to $680 per student. The $680 vs. the $540 pre-split represents more than $10 million, which is an ongoing annual cost that increases each year due to the split.

Note: The definition of “Administrative” includes: Board of Education, District Administrators, School Administrators, Secretaries, Clerks, Human Resources, Payroll, Purchasing, Accounting, Communications and Computer Systems.

There are also other new, duplicated costs not included in the chart above in running a district.  These additional costs are found in numerous positions in Curriculum, Counseling, Nurses, Title I, Special Education, CTE, Warehouse, Transportation, Custodial, etc.