Jordan School District looking toward housing alternatives in wake of bond failure

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 6 2013 4:40 p.m. MST

"We’ve seen the way that Jordan has handled the money before and think that the schools they’re building are too lavish and their spending is too excessive," she said. "The amount that they were suggesting was so high, and the return did not seem worth what they were paying."

When asked about student housing alternatives such as year-round schedules and portable classrooms, Weist — whose children are home-schooled — said those efforts would likely have been necessary in the short term during construction if the bond had passed.

Moving forward, she said, her group of bond opponents is planning to meet to discuss suggestions that can be presented to and developed collaboratively with the school board.

Some of the ideas that have been discussed so far include selling off parcels of land owned by the district to raise funds or using online resources to lessen the burden of classroom space, Weist said.

"Obviously there’s a need for growth, and we would like to address that, too," she said. "We're not going to just vote 'no' and walk away."

Riesgraf said the community voiced its opinion with the vote, and the school board will now work to fulfill the public's wishes.

"We can honestly say, as a school district, we ran our educational campaign with integrity, and we didn’t send out misleading or false information," she said. "We can be proud of doing what we did to educate our community."

Following the bond's failure, the Utah Taxpayers Association posted on its Facebook page that it looks forward to working with district officials to develop affordable and sustainable ways to improve education and house students.

Weist said she has not yet contacted district officials but is waiting until she and other bond opponents have had a chance to discuss strategies to address growth.

"We wanted to come prepared with some ideas first, which is why we’re organizing an initial meeting," she said. "We absolutely think that a crucial next step is all of us working together."

Two other bond elections in the state were too close to call Tuesday night. As of Wednesday, the Cache County School District proposal for a $129 million bond had passed by a margin of 184 votes, but district business administrator Dale Hansen said there were still between 200 and 300 outstanding provisional ballots to be counted.

"It would be quite unusual for that few number of provisional ballots to change the results, but mathematically it could happen," Hansen said.

The provisional ballots will be sent to the county elections clerk for verification before being returned to the various municipalities for counting. Hansen said the process of arriving at a final count could take up to a week.

A $55 million Logan School District bond also passed by a margin of 57 percent to 43 percent, making Jordan School District's $495 million bond proposal the only school district bond to be defeated by voters.

Bond proposals in Duchesne and Washington counties were also approved

Email: benwood@deseretnews.com, Twitter: bjaminwood

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