Canyons to vote on new boundaries Tuesday; some Draper residents still not satisfied
SANDY — The Canyons School Board is set to make a final decision Tuesday on newly drawn high school and elementary boundaries in the district.
With a new high school under construction in Draper and grade reconfiguration that will turn the district's eight junior highs into middle schools in 2013-14, all boundaries have been looked over and tweaked.
Residents on Draper's west side have been among the most vocal about the board's proposals, which will send most of the city's teenagers to the new high school at 801 E. 12887 South. A portion will remain at Alta High, while those west of I-15 will continue to attend Jordan High in Sandy.
"There is not an option out there right now that they've presented with existing schools that is satisfactory to us," said Robert Duffin, who lives west of I-15 and has four children. "We definitely want to make sure that they're aware of our concerns."
Duffin said he and other parents don't see why it's necessary to send students to Jordan High when a closer option, the new school in Draper, will be available.
While the board has yet to adopt a middle school proposal, two boundary proposals show Duffin's neighborhood would continue to attend Mt. Jordan Middle in Sandy. He would prefer they attend one of two closer schools, or better yet, he'd like to see the district build a whole new middle school in Draper that would feed into the high school.
"This is really more about an issue of Draper in general not having adequate schools for their students," he said.
The board won't vote on a final middle school map until its Dec. 6 meeting.
Stephanie Yorgason, who also lives on Draper's west side, said she likes the board's proposals and is fine with a slightly longer commute.
The PTA president at Mt. Jordan Middle School, Yorgason said she's far more concerned about maintaining a sense of consistency for her children than she is about the additional 1.5 mile drive it takes to get to Jordan High from her house than it would take to get to the new Draper high school.
"My plea has been, 'Please leave us some sort of feeder system,'" she said.
Yorgason wants continuity for her ninth-grade daughter and is supportive of plans that have a good percentage of students from Mt. Jordan feeding into Jordan High. She prefers that to having only the kids in her neighborhood attend the new high school while the rest of her daughter's middle school goes to Jordan.
"I would hate to rip her out of that social group," she said.
Beginning a year ago, a community task force comprised of parents and principals did the initial work to come up with plans for the new boundaries. Community needs were balanced with enrollment and building capacity numbers, said district spokesman Jeffrey Haney. Splitting up communities was inevitable.
"It's difficult to take a look at all of our schools and develop a true feeder system," Haney said.
The task force and board have been most concerned about keeping neighborhoods intact, he said, and the west-side neighborhoods have been kept together.
Duffin said he and other parents will continue to take their concerns and suggestions to the city and school board. He's not sure what he and his wife will do when it's time for their oldest to enter middle school.
"We would probably look at charter schools," he said. "And that's an unfortunate outcome because it takes money away from the school district."
Haney said the district has welcomed and will continue to encourage feedback.
"We want that type of input," he said. "That's what the whole process has been centered around."
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