Overcrowding at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School, 2825 S. 200 East, will be temporarily relieved by moving portable units to the school.
The Granite Board of Education voted Tuesday to defer long-term plans for the school for at least a year to allow in-depth study of a number of alternatives. The vote followed a discussion in which concerns were raised regarding the process used to consider the school's options.Representatives of school neighborhoods presented different viewpoints to the board. A community committee appointed earlier this year to study the issues did not make a recommendation, although year-round scheduling appeared to be the most popular option, according to a survey.
Some residents, however, questioned the process the committee used. Brenda Atkinson, a parent, said she felt her views were not represented on the committee, which she said was "hand-picked" and ignored some neighborhoods. She said South Salt Lake, where the school is located, is changing dramatically and a quickly implemented decision could turn out to be short-sighted.
Maurice Wilkinson, Granite's associate director for elementary operations, told the board that 480 surveys were sent to Woodrow Wilson parents and approximately 62 percent - 297 - were returned.
The surveys indicated that 44 percent of the parents preferred year-round school; 9.1 percent wanted portable classrooms used for one year to allow for study; 13.8 percent opted for long-term use of portables; 2.7 percent for double sessions for one year; 7 percent for a boundary change to redistribute the excess students to other nearby schools; 6.7 percent for busing out of the neighborhood. Fourteen percent of the surveys were invalidated because they were marked in more than one of the options, Wilkinson said.
Several parents took issue with the process used at Woodrow Wilson, and they found support in board member Patricia Sandstrom, who said she had looked into some of the allegations and was concerned with the manner in which the survey was conducted and with the choice of committee members.
She said the committee members were selected primarily from one neighborhood and did not fully represent the school community.
A letter sent to school patrons, outlining the options, was also a concern, she said, since it indicated the school board favored year-round scheduling as a solution to overcrowding and was not likely to consider other alternatives.
"I am offended as a board member," she said. "The community was misled by the suggestion that the board's mind already was made up."
The board voted to delay a long-range decision on the school for a year and suggested a representative committee be charged with looking at every possible solution.