Legislators Proposed Education Cuts During a Surplus Year

We appreciate the role Charter Schools play in the education of children but have concerns regarding issues of accountability, transparency and equity. Here are the facts:

A recent Salt Lake Tribune story highlights how legislators have given initial approval to proposed cuts of more than $60 million from public education. But under this proposal charter schools get less of a cut than school districts. If the proposal passes, school districts will be required to double their contribution of property tax dollars to charter schools.

What does this mean for Jordan School District? It means that Jordan could end up paying more than $2.9 million annually to charter schools over and above the $2.6 million we already give to charters. Our new total contribution to charters could exceed $5.5 million, which would be a charter funding increase of 110 percent from Jordan School District. At the same time, children in Jordan schools would see a decrease in funding of $3.2 million for services we are required to provide (transportation, math, science, reading and concurrent enrollment).

The total cut to the District as proposed would be $6.1 million. Lawmakers are suggesting that in the final budget districts could see an increase in funding. Early figures suggest that increase could be in the range of 2-6 percent. This would be offset by the 3 percent total cut to Jordan from this initial proposal. It also means the theoretical increase would likely not cover the cost of inflation for the coming year.

Daybreak Elementary Students Travel to Capitol for Lesson in Legislative Process

DSCN0926About fifty Daybreak Elementary students experienced the legislative process first hand in a fun and educational field trip to the State Capitol. Students in Alli Meyer’s fourth-grade class and some fifth-graders she taught last year wanted to learn how a bill actually becomes law. So, they asked Senator Aaron Osmond to support their idea to name the golden retriever as the state domestic animal by sponsoring Senate Bill 53. Students were invited to attend as the State Domestic Animal bill was debated in a Senate committee. A golden retriever and golden retriever pups were also at the committee hearing. Prior to that, the students were given a tour of the State Capitol.  By the way, the State Domestic Animal bill passed out of the Senate committee and now goes to the full Senate for a vote. The students will watch the bills progress and continue to learn about our state government and the legislative process. Enjoy a photo gallery on our Facebook page.

Another Winning Moment for Bingham Miners at State Capitol

GOV_3212The Bingham Miners football team has had plenty of winning moments in the past year with another 5A state championship title and being ranked as high as 4th in the nation. Now they can add another memorable moment to their win column. The Miners were honored during a special ceremony at the Utah State Capitol. Governor Gary Herbert along with members of the House and Senate took time to congratulate the team and coaching staff for their amazing season and for establishing a record of success both on and off the playing field. We are proud of the many accomplishments achieved by the Bingham Miners. Enjoy a photo gallery on our Facebook page compliments of the Governor’s Office.

Board of Education Letter to Public Education Appropriations Committee

Public Education Appropriations Committee:

Screenshot 2015-02-04 10.11.56The Jordan District Board of Education appreciates the role which the legislature plays in the education process of our children. We have listened carefully to the Committee’s discussion of local replacement funding and have some concerns which revolve around issues of accountability and transparency.

  • When funding from districts to charters increases, district accountability also increases. But a problem arises from this situation. Local school boards, who have mandated authority to be watchmen over district funds, have absolutely no control over any charter school funding decision. We believe that the taxing entity which assesses the funds should have some input concerning how the funds are spent.
  • In reference to the transparency issue, local school boards are elected officials who have to answer to their constituents at the ballot box. Charter governing boards are not elected by the general public, and they have no such accountability. Streaming public funding through local school districts before it reaches charter schools decreases the voters’ understanding of how their taxpayer dollars are spent. Such a situation makes charter funding less transparent rather than more transparent. Voters become stakeholders who provide money, but have no knowledge or voice in how it is spent.
  • Funneling funds through the local school district creates a “middle man” which not only convolutes the accountability and transparency of the funds but also redirects resources with school districts. Districts must spend time and effort on something they have no control over and do not know the amount that must be redirected to charters until well after budget cycles are underway. Eliminating the local school district “middle man” would save taxpayer dollars in the form of district resources, as well as allowing districts to maintain stable and low property taxes.

As a beginning step to help resolve these concerns regarding accountability and transparency, the Public Education Appropriations Committee might consider recommending that charter school funding become an independent line item on the individual property tax notifications made each year by county officials, just as local school district funding is listed now. Taxpayers would then have a much clearer picture of how their public funds are allocated, and such an itemization would demonstrate the funding for which local school boards should be held accountable and which funding they should not.

Sincerely,
Susan Pulsipher, President
Janice L. Voorhies, Vice President
Kayleen Whitelock, Secretary
Jen Atwood, Board Member
J. Lynn Crane, Board Member
Richard S. Osborn, Board Member
Matthew Young, Board Member

Riverton High Sisters on Road to STEM Success

Screenshot 2015-02-04 12.25.57When Riverton High twin sisters, Grace and Maya Ethington, set their minds on achieving something, there’s often no stopping this dynamic duo. That was the case when they decided to develop a new student-friendly app for classmates at Riverton High. A love for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) already has these two teens on the road to success. Take a look at Grace and Maya’s story as reported by KUTV.