Jordan School District disappointed after discussions end over Facebook data center

Posted at 9:32 PM, Aug 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-24 08:48:15-04

WEST JORDAN, Utah - The discussions to bring a Facebook Data Center to West Jordan is dead. The city pulled the $240 million worth of tax breaks off the table.

“It’s disappointing,” said Susan Pulsipher, president of the Jordan School District Board.

The district is one of the state’s largest and fastest growing with roughly 52,300 students.

"In Jordan District, we need seats for our kids in our schools,” Pulsipher said.

Already, the district has some schools on year-round schedules to ease overcrowding. District leaders are also starting programs where some students start more than an hour earlier than others, another attempt to ease crowded classrooms.

The long-term solution is likely building more schools, which is a big expense.

"When we can get that property tax money out of the capital buildings, then that's great for taxpayers because we ask them for less,” Pulsipher said.

While the district and the City of West Jordan were backing the deal, many others were coming out in opposition. The Salt Lake County Commission, Salt Lake County Mayor, Utah Taxpayers Association said the deal went too far.

"This was potentially setting the standard for what every other big company was going to ask for when they come here and it just went too far,” said Billy Hesterman, Vice President of the Utah Taxpayers Association.

After the Utah State School Board gave support to phase one but only with certain conditions, the City of West Jordan backed out, citing it could no longer compete with other states, like New Mexico, in the effort to attract the data center.