WEST JORDAN — Members of the Jordan School Board approved a package of unpopular school boundary changes Tuesday, but not before making several last-minute adjustments aimed at addressing residents' concerns and staving off potential backlash.
Prior to the board's vote, community member Alexandra Eframo pleaded with the board to leave neighborhoods intact and added a warning that the boundary changes would have political ramifications for the elected board members.
"I am begging you, please postpone this vote on the boundaries," Eframo said. "If you choose to run again for the school board, just remember your constituents are going to remember what you did and how you thought so little of their neighborhood friends."
The approved changes establish a boundary for an as-yet-unnamed elementary school in Herriman and affect the boundaries of Elk Ridge and South Jordan middle schools, as well as Bluffdale, Butterfield Canyon, Daybreak, Eastlake, Elk Meadows, Foothills, Herriman, Jordan Ridge, Jordan Ridge, Midas Creek, Monte Vista, Silver Crest and Terra Linda elementary schools.
In December, the school district released a series of boundary change options and asked residents to provide their feedback through an online survey. Anthony Godfrey, administrator of schools for Jordan School District, said that survey yielded 2,500 responses, with the most popular options being "Option 1" for the north end of the district and "Option A" for the south.
The board ultimately approved Option A, with the amendments that the Heritage Place and Sunstone neighborhoods remain at Silver Crest Elementary and Daybreak Elementary, respectively.
Board member Kayleen Whitelock made the motion to remove Sunstone from the proposal after members of that community made an organized request to the school board.
"I feel like their Community Council at Daybreak brought us a wonderful presentation with consensus for their whole community," she said.
In her support of Whitelock's amendment, board member Susan Pulsipher said that Sunstone would likely be required to move in the future, and she didn't want to create a "ping-pong" neighborhood that was constantly switching schools.
"As I look at the most likely scenario that I can conjecture, we need to let those families remain at Daybreak (Elementary), and they have presented us evidence that they would be able to remain there for several years," Pulsipher said.
On the north side of the district, the board approved "Option 3," with a modification affecting the boundary between Eastlake and Elk Meadows elementary schools. An updated map of the boundary changes will be posted to the district website on Wednesday.
Jamie Larsen, a parent whose children are being moved from Elk Meadows to Terra Linda Elementary, said she was disappointed with the vote. Larsen said she and her neighbors had voiced concerns to the board similar to what the Sunstone community had done, but there was no mention of their efforts during the board meeting.
"I'm just extremely frustrated because none of the board members listened to any of our recommendations," Larsen said.
During the meeting, Whitelock made an appeal to her constituents and other district residents in attendance by saying she wished the district had the option to let boundaries remain the same. But she said growth had reached a point where school stages and teacher's lounges were being used for classroom space.
"I'm sorry that we have to have boundary changes," she said. "Let's work together so we can do the best for kids."
The boundary changes come after a failed bond election in November that sought money to build 11 new schools. While the bond was not specifically mentioned during Tuesday's board meeting, its failure has permeated discussions of year-round schedules, distance busing and boundary changes as a way to address growth in the Jordan School District.
Pulsipher said she was "nervous" about the growth and expressed that the board was acting out of necessity.
"We have growth and we have got to do something about the growth, sooner rather than later," she said. "Because right now we’re fixing it, but no option will maintain our boundaries for a long period of time."
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: bjaminwood
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company