Utah lawmakers discuss creation of school districts

Posted at 12:37 PM, Feb 14, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-14 14:37:16-05

SALT LAKE CITY --Utah lawmakers are weighing in today on the creation of school districts.

The sponsor of Utah House Bill 84 claims it isn't about prohibiting cities from splitting up with school districts, but more about protecting cities from bearing the heavy tax burden if a school district splits.

One example brought up was the Jordan School District's controversial split with Canyons School District, and how South Jordan may cut ties with the troubled Jordan School District.

Rep. Craig Hall said current law allows cities to cherry pick their taxpayers in areas that have few students and high revenue, and then leave other areas behind to foot a hefty bill. Under HB 84, cities that want to create a school district would have to conduct a feasibility study. If the results show anticipated revenues exceed expenditures by 5 percent, the city can't put it to a vote.

Critics argue that it doesn't give citizens a say, but in the end the House Revenue and Taxation Committee approved the bill with an 11-3 vote.