City council approves study regarding Jordan School District split

Posted at 6:08 PM, May 23, 2014

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah -- An effort by some residents of South Jordan to split from the Jordan School District is now a step closer to becoming a reality.

The city council approved a study to see if, and how, it would work.

The issue is creating some division among residents of South Jordan. Those in favor believe a potential district split will ultimately benefit the students of the city, but opponents are strongly against it, and believe it will hurt students.

South Jordan Councilman Chuck Newton voted in favor of the school district feasibility study at this week’s council meeting.

“If the study proves favorable, what we’ll find is not only will it benefit South Jordan, but it will benefit the rest of the school district as well,” he said.

Newton said the study will cost South Jordan about $50,000 and should be completed by August 1. If the study comes back favorable, he said a split would be a no-brainer.

“It will allow us to take a different stance in how the classrooms are managed,” he said. “We’ll be able to go to slightly smaller class sizes than what is current in the Jordan School District. We’ll be able to build the buildings in a less expensive cost without all the expensive features the Jordan district puts into the buildings that everybody knows are unnecessary.”

But some residents who spoke with FOX 13 News are saying “no way.”

Kathy DeWitt said: “It will cost thousands of dollars to do this study, and, in my opinion, that money could be put into education. It could help the police department, the fire department, why not use it to benefit our city?”

She refers to the cost and impact of the Canyons/Jordan District split in 2009. According to the Jordan School District website, the cost of their split with the Canyons District cost more than $59 million. Taxes increased for both districts after the split, and administrative costs per student have gone up.

Stacy Wood said: “I feel like this split isn’t just about education. I feel like there’s very much a lot of politics going on with it too.”

FOX 13 News reached out to Jordan School District. They tell us it’s premature for them to comment on this study. If the study indicates a split is a good idea, the South Jordan City Council will present the findings to residents, start an education campaign, and then the issue will go on the November ballot in South Jordan. If it passes, there would be a two year process before the split actually takes place.