More evidence of its growing pains, the Jordan Board of Education voted Tuesday to change the boundaries between Bingham and Copper Hills high schools and impose split sessions next fall at Oquirrh Hills Middle School.
After weeks of haggling over boundaries proposed by the school district and the community, the school board decided to establish a line that coincides with the boundaries between the cities of West Jordan and South Jordan.District officials say the new boundary should help equalize enrollments among Copper Hills, Bingham and the new high school under construction in Riverton.
Students who have started their school careers at Copper Hills would be permitted to finish high school there. The district will continue to bus those students to school. Younger siblings may apply to attend the school, if space permits.
Board member Maureen Jensen cast the lone vote against the proposal. "I can't vote against Copper Hills High School. I don't think it would be as fair for kids. We're in the business for kids," she said.
When Copper Hills opened in 1995, students who formerly attended Bingham High were forced to attend the new school when the district imposed a boundary change.
While at first angry about the change, the community has rallied and established strong academic standards and a competitive athletic programs. Many families do not wish to return to Bingham for various reasons.
Board member Shane Bodell said he believes the school district's proposal affords choice to students and parents and is the "best possible compromise." He called on administrators to closely monitor enrollment at the three schools to ensure the boundary is well placed.
Meanwhile, the school board also authorized Oquirrh Hills Middle School, 12949 S. 2700 West, to institute a double-session school schedule beginning next fall through Oct. 31.
The schedule, requested by parents, means one shift of students will start school early in the morning, adjourn after lunch. The second shift, staffed by a separate group of teachers, would start around lunch time and finish shortly before dinner time. The district would bus students who would travel in darkness to and from school.
Parents asked for the schedule as a stop-gap measure to ease overcrowding until the new middle school in Riverton is ready for occupancy. Superintendent Barry Newbold said contractors have assured the district the new school will be ready for students Nov. 1.
Once the new Riverton middle school opens, it and Oquirrh Middle School will operate on regular school schedules.
Tom Owen, assistant superintendent for the district's southwest area, said 60 percent of Oquirrh Middle School parents said they wanted the temporary schedule change.