October 27, 2015
We are all for education but we are voting NO on the school bond because of a short-circuited process and an unnecessarily expensive plan. There are too many unanswered questions as well as too much room for interpretation for the use of the bond funds. There is much more work to be done before we hand over a blank check for $56 million in bond funds for a $66 million project.
It has been interesting to watch the Board scrambling to answer patron questions. Here are some of those questions, and a few more:
–Why is the first item authorized in the bond resolution ACQUISITION OF LAND?
–What are the traffic impacts on Kilby Road, Kearns Blvd./Hwy 224 and all of the additional car trips across the District? What is the District’s role in mitigating those?
–Why haven’t we explored further sharing of athletic facilities so the citizens of the Basin and City do not have to pay for duplicate facilities? Remember that Snyderville Recreation District just passed a $25M bond in 2014 and the tax increase is hitting this fall.
–Why don’t we phase this project and bonding instead of "shooting for the moon"? There will likely be other bonds over the next 20 years such as:
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Snyderville Recreation additional recreation, trails, open space.
–Is the Board being persuaded to build a fieldhouse by parents of athletes, especially lacrosse players when lacrosse is not even sanctioned by the UHSAA?
–Is full-day kindergarten, the driver for grade realignment, truly the answer to our students’ performance woes? In addition to all these building programs, the change requires eliminating the Reading Specialist and, possibly, the ESL programs, leaving our classroom teachers without support to teach students with a huge range of backgrounds and abilities. We don’t want to pile more on our hard-working teachers.
–Is it a good idea to create the largest middle school in the state, housing as many kids, at younger ages, as will be at PCHS? We could devote resources to developing a second middle school campus, perhaps right on the Treasure Mountain site.
–While clearly there are needs for athletic upgrades, why is 26% of this bond for athletic facilities? The list includes the high school gym and locker rooms remodel, new wrestling room, sport equipment storage and unspecified athletic facilities improvements including building a new football field, an indoor athletic facility, new playing fields, and a new track? Which are needs, and which are wants?
–Couldn’t we accomplish student NEEDS by keeping and improving Dozier Field and carrying out some of the above athletic remodels? This sounds more rational and responsible to us. This was what the Master Planning Committee and Superintendent brought to the Board in their separate recommendations, and the Board rejected.
But the Board has presented ITS plan and has surprised us by announcing that this plan WILL be implemented. It’s only a matter of how WE choose to pay for it. We believe we should reply, through our NO votes, that the community wants a better plan that reflects citizen input received, like the separate recommendations of the Master Plan Committee and Superintendent. And, that if they will work with the citizenry to develop a well-thought-out plan, we will support a bond to pay for it.
The Board’s threat to impose a very costly capital levy on School District patrons if we do not pass the bond is coercive. If citizens turn down this bond we hope the Board will do as other governmental entities usually do, and reflect on why the vote was NO. We are looking forward to voting YES IN 2016 to bond for a well-thought out plan that we can call OURS.
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