Closure of either East Mill Creek or Canyon Rim elementary schools was proposed Tuesday night to bring the east area of Granite School District into compliance with state utilization requirements.
The majority report of a citizens committee suggested the closure of East Mill Creek as being the most practical, least disruptive and most acceptable to community residents.A counter proposal was presented by a group of dissenting parents who argued that closure of Canyon Rim is more feasible, since East Mill Creek has more room for ultimate expansion if necessary, that it has better parking facilities and would leave the neighborhood with a "green space" for recreation.
Both plans were presented in a straightforward manner and the groups said they would offer their assistance to the Granite School Board regardless of the decision.
The board will act on the proposals at its May 31 meeting.
The district was forced to consider closure of a school in its east section because three of the schools did not have enough students to meet the state's 70 percent utilization requirement. Such schools stand to lose state financial support for utilities.
Initially, said Assistant Superintendent I. Riley O'Neil, 10 of the district schools were out of compliance. Revision of the state criteria for determining utilization corrected the problems at seven of the schools, leaving only Canyon Rim, East Mill Creek and Roosevelt under the required utilization standard.
The district expects to save more than $140,378 annually by closing a school, O'Neil said.
The utilization committee looked at virtually every alternative for dividing students among the schools to create equity and still bring them into compliance. Closure of East Mill Creek, which will have 272 students in the 1988-89 school year, was thought to be the best plan and received the most support of committee members, said Glen Park, chairman of the umbrella committee.
Among the factors that led to that conclusion were that the school has the fewest students of any in the eastside area being considered; that there is more chance of selling the school property, and that the entire student body and faculty could be moved en masse to Canyon Rim, where there would be room to accommodate them with two classrooms left over.
An alternative proposal would divide the present East Mill Creek boundaries, sending 66 students between 23rd and 27th East streets to Upland Terrace and the remainder of the present East Mill Creek student body to Canyon Rim.
The proposal to close Canyon Rim instead was presented by Laurie Hansen, Tom Smith and Curtis Elton. They said insufficient thought had been given to busing students from other, more crowded areas of Granite District to fill the eastside schools.
They proposed sending 93 students on the west side of the Canyon Rim area and allowing them to walk to Rosecrest, while the remainder of the students would be bused to East Mill Creek. Canyon Rim does not have an auditorium, as East Mill Creek has, they said, and is on a smaller tract of land - 7.7 acres, compared with 10 acres at East Mill Creek.
An issue raised by both contingents was that the East Mill Creek area will lose a recreation center if the school is closed and sold. Other parks in the area would not be easily accessible to children, they said.
Even though the schools are within a mile of each other, busing was seen to be necessary for any transfer of students, because they would have to cross 33rd South in either direction. The street in this area is six lanes and steeply sloped, creating a hazard that would make walking unacceptable on a safety basis.
The East Mill Creek parents asked that if the district decides to close the school that a plot 300 feet by 350 feet be donated to the community for a park, that the district make every effort to sell the property to acceptable neighbors and that every possible step be taken to preserve the quality of life.
"We would like to be guaranteed that we would not have to be upset again in the future and that busing and other policies not be subject to change," Elton said. " We would hope that you would put neighborhood concerns ahead of politics."