SOUTH JORDAN — South Jordan residents could feasibly form their own school district someday, but it would come with a hefty price.

If it is created, South Jordan's school district could have the highest tax rate in all of the state, according to a feasibility study released by the city on Wednesday. South Jordan would see an 8 percent increase in property taxes over the projected 18 percent increase that will come with the Jordan School District bond that the entire west side will share.

"The (South Jordan) district will not have the necessary funding to cover the capital needs or duplicate and start-up costs outlined ... without a tax increase," says a Lewis, Young, Robertson and Burningham feasibility report released Wednesday.

Tax increases for Herriman, Riverton, Bluffdale and unincorporated parts of Salt Lake County would be even worse if South Jordan and West Jordan splintered into their own districts. Those remaining cities could see a 27 percent increase on top of the projected 18 percent increase — but some unknown factors could change that number.

The study highlights the fact that the economic impact associated with forming a new district could change after 2009. Legislation dictating the criteria for forming a new school district could change, and equalization measures could be in place by then, potentially easing the financial burden of west-side school districts.

The study does not attempt to predict the financial impact on any west-side cities after 2016, but it estimates start-up costs for a South Jordan school district would be about $31.8 million, compared to the $40.4 million estimated start-up costs associated with the remaining west-side Jordan School District after the east side of the district separates.

According to the study, South Jordan stands to receive a greater benefit, from a capital needs perspective, if it remains with the rest of the west side. Other considerations, such as land acquisition agreements, could make creating a new district more appealing.

South Jordan city leaders declined to comment on the study on Wednesday, but the results of the report will be discussed at an upcoming City Council meeting in mid-January.

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