West-side students in the east-side International Baccalaureate program wouldn't get the boot when Jordan School District splits a year and a half from now under a proposal pitched Tuesday.
Jordan School District deputy superintendent Burke Jolley proposed the idea to create temporary agreements between east and west, in addition to several other ideas, to make sure kids don't get hurt in the divorce of sorts at hand. The proposals came before the first joint meeting of east- and west-side transition teams. Ultimately, the new school boards would have to enter the agreements, but Jolley recommended the transition teams encourage them to do so.
"In my mind, the greatest challenge for the new district will be building the infrastructure and support system for programs and services," Jordan Superintendent Barry Newbold told the teams. "Building time into both districts' ability to identify what infrastructure they need to continue programs and services they find beneficial is really key."
Jordan District students would have priority to access services beginning in July 2009 and for three years thereafter, under the proposal.
Voters in November decided to split the state's largest school district along the Jordan River. The law requires transition teams representing both sides to split the district's assets within the next six months.
Jolley Tuesday proposed a few ways to do it.
"Community schools" and everything in them would stay in the district where they're located. While that doesn't include shared buildings like the district office or Valley High alternative school, it would include Jordan Valley School for students with severe, multiple disabilities in east-side Midvale, because an identical school is being built in the west right now.
But east-side transition team member Jason Burningham, whose firm conducted the district split feasibility study, noted that would take about $700 million of $1.2 billion in assets off the table, and could leave the east side with more liabilities than assets. He wondered if the law really requires community schools to be out of the split debate, and if so, if that interferes with a fair and equitable split as mandated by law.
Also, what about the districts' computer database? Jolley didn't list it as an asset to be divided, because he proposes both sides have access to it, so there's nothing to split.
Former Sandy mayor and east-side transition team Chairman Steve Newton says he wants those databases, which he says might be worth $40 million or $50 million, to be listed as assets to be divided.
Ultimately, the big question before transition teams is by what formula to split assets. Do you do it 50-50? By enrollment? Property values? Anything other than the first likely would favor the west side, Jolley said.
Also among Jolley's proposals:
• Share district office, auxiliary services and warehouse for up to two years, with a payment schedule.
• Use up to $10 million in district reserves for district start-up money.
• Old district would maintain records, but both sides have unlimited access until 2019.The next joint meeting is Feb. 4 at 4 p.m. in Sandy city offices.
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