Utah Legislature: Many bills aimed to financially help Jordan District

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 6 2015 5:15 a.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — To say Jordan School District stole the show during the 2010 legislative session is an understatement.

Because the district is facing a $30 million deficit due to the district split, the recession and state budget cuts, several bills were proposed to help the district out of its financial bind.

"We are very appreciative of legislation that may provide relief and flexibility as we adjust to the effects of the economy, compounded by the district division and establishing a new baseline of funding for the students in Jordan District," said Superintendent Barry Newbold. "We feel that both proposed and enacted legislation have provided an appropriate forum to discuss, review and modify laws related to the division of school districts and will help mitigate negative consequences to students and their education."

Some legislation succeeded, while other bills were quashed.

About 50 Jordan District teachers rallied at the Capitol in support of HB295, a bill that would allow school districts the flexibility to use building funds for classroom needs, including funding teachers. "It makes a huge difference for our school district," said Rick Bojak, Jordan School Board member.

HB295, by Rep. Ken Sumsion, R-American Fork, passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate. Amendments to the bill do not allow county equalization money be used in the flexibility option.

The most controversial of all the Jordan-related bills, HB292, aimed to "equalize" funds between Canyons and Jordan school districts by making Canyons fork over $15 million. HB292, sponsored by Rep. Jim Bird, R-West Jordan, failed to make it through the House Education Committee but did draw a huge crowd and lots of emotional public comment.

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