A group of Valley Center parents has presented a list of requests to Granite School District administrators to salve disappointment that the west-side neighborgood will have to bus its children to Canyom Rim School this fall.
Among the requests is a call for the firing of Reily O'Neil, assistant Granite superintendent. O'Neil suprervised a study of school utilization in the district's east side. The study resulted in a recent decision that East Mill Creek School be closed because it was seriously under-utilized, and that its students be bused to Upland Terrace, The Granite board approved that recommendation July 5 on a 3-2 vote.
Valley Center residents preferred a plan that would have sent the East Mill Creek students to Canyon Rim, and left their children at Upland Terrace.
The parent group claims O'Neil favored east-side interests, was unresponsive to their needs in the school closure debate and rude to residents pressing Valley Center arguments.
Granite Superintendent Loren G. Burton said he feels the demand for Burton said he feels the demand for O'Neil's firing is based on a emotional response to the school realignment and has no substantial basis in fact. The district is working with the parent group to study the list of requests and will try to resolve the problems as equitably as pollible, Burton said.
The East Mill Creek closure displaced about 150 Valley Center students who had been bused to Upland Terrace.
Besides requests for improved busing and a sharing of some equipment from Upland Terrace that the Valley Center parents helped to puchase, the parents want a better longterm solution to their problem.
The west-side neighborhood, located between Fifth and Seventh West and 3750 and 41st South, has been without a local school for 18 years. Residents argued before the board that 18 years of busing to Upland Terrace had made them part of the school's native population and that their needs should get equal concern with those of East Mill Creek.
Valley Center residents put out tentative feelers this week on annexation to Murray City. The students then could attend Murray City. This alternative, however, appears to have been set aside, at least for the moment.
"For the coming year, we have no alternative but to send the kids to Canyon Rim. But we want the improvements and we want a long-term solution," said Carolyn Alder, a Valley Center spokeswoman.
It is too close to the start of the school year to pursue annexation, she said. But the Murray alternative will be added to a list of potential solutions. The group also will visit Granite schools closer to their west-side location to see if there are options closer to home, Alder said.
Murray Mayor Lavar C. McMillan said he is lukewarm to the annexation proposition but will conduct the required hearings and council consideration if Valley Center residents present valid petitions.
Meanwhile, the parents want assurances that Canyon Rim will provide the same quality education for their children as they received at Upland Terrace, said Birdie Lou Weaver, another spokeswoman for Valley Center.
"We were sent to Upland Terrace 18 years ago because the school needed students. We allowed the busing to go on because our children were getting a super education," said Weaver. "Upland Terrace is the Cadillac of the schools in that area."
The parents want more buses to alleviate crowding, since their children now will ride a slightly longer distance. They want buses available for regular activities before and after school, and they want aides to be on the buses to assist children.
Alder said the Valley Center parents also feel they should be able to share computer equipment for which they helped Upland Terrace raise money. The computers have not yet been put into use, and a proportionate number of them follow the Valley Center students, even if they are ultimately assigned to a school other than Canyon Rim, she said.
Weaver said that in making the safety of East Mill Creek students paramount in its closure decision, Granite District has set a dangerous precedent. The board was swayed by arguments that requiring the East Mill Creek students to cross 33rd South would create a significant safety hazard for the youngsters.
The same consideration will now have to be given to every student in the district to avoid favoritism, Weaver said.
Granite North Area Administrator Wendal Sullivan said the district will considert the Valley Center requests and keep meeting with the neighborhood in an effort to resolve the problems.
If the Valley Center students are subsequently moved from Canyon Rim, that school then will not have enough students to meet the state utilization standard.