Low voter turnout for Bryant Intermediate School's uniforms proposal has prompted a second election date next month.
Parents of incoming seventh- and eighth-graders may vote at the school Wednesday, June 3, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. That also is the date for two student awards ceremonies that parents are invited to attend.Last week, two voting days were set aside for proposed uniforms, which include slacks, skirts or long shorts and solid shirts in colors determined by students.
Just 103 of 700 families showed up, with three votes separating the yeas from the nays, said PTA President-Elect Judy Eror, who since has received about 30 calls from parents seeking ballots. Four ballots included opinions on school uniforms but no vote.
Some parents said they were out of town during voting; bad weather also may have been a factor in voter turnout, Eror said.
"We want to accommodate the community the best we can. This isn't just a funny little vote. It really does impact households," said Eror, also a member of the school uniform study committee of 15 parents, teachers and students. "If we have to live with it (one) way, we want to live with it hearing from 51 percent of the voters."
The proposal aims to alleviate status and cliques based on clothing labels. Opponents say the policy would put too much financial pressure on parents and force them to search high and low for label-less clothing.
If parents do not approve the uniforms, a new dress code will take effect, requiring long shorts and barring sleeveless tops, thong sandals and tight-fitting Spandex and sagging or torn clothes.
Many parents at a meeting last week voiced dismay about the unannounced alternative dress code. About 50 attended the meeting.
The uniform proposal follows a parent survey indicating uniforms would be favorable. Teachers say students needs stricter dress standards.
Bryant would be the first secondary school in the Salt Lake City School District to have a uniform policy. Nibley Park Elementary in the same school district was the state's first to implement school uniforms two years ago.
Salt Lake's Franklin Elementary requires students to dress in school colors. Jackson Elementary will implement a similar policy next fall. Glendale Intermediate School will survey parents about school uniforms next year.
Bryant parents and teachers are sending election fliers to feeder schools and activating phone trees to spread the word. Cast ballots are locked in an office. If the uniforms proposal passes, ballots for color choices will be delivered to students the following day.
"We need parents to be involved and care and have an opinion," Eror said. "We want to be able say that in our school we had serious parental participation every step of the way."