SANDY — It was a busy night at the Canyons Board of Education meeting Tuesday, where the district named a new principal for Alta High School and almost 200 teachers showed up to air their concerns over negotiating power and budget cuts.

The board welcomed Fidel Montero, naming him the new principal of Alta High.

"It's kind of a new day at Alta High School," said district spokesman Jeff Haney. "We're incredibly happy that we can move into a new time and new direction with a new leader."

Former principal Mont Widerberg retired in March following a district-led racism probe at the school.

Several teachers addressed the board Tuesday to voice their concerns about the decisions the Canyons School District has made or might make in regard to district-teacher negotiations and salaries.

Tony Romanello, president of the Canyons Education Association, said prior to the start of teacher contract negotiations, Superintendent David Doty wrote a letter stating that three out of 25 policies related to teacher contracts will no longer be negotiable. The union and board are currently conducting negotiations, and some teachers expressed their concerned that the district is keeping them from weighing in on certain policies.

"Please understand, in the absence of a master agreement, teachers, educators, all of your employees, all they have, is their voice," Romanello told the board. "To deny them their voice is to deny any appreciation for what they do."

Spokeswoman Jennifer Toomer-Cook said the three policies that are no longer negotiable have nothing to do with terms of employment and have been removed from the negotiating table because they have been identified as board responsibilities.

The policies included student discipline, a district advisory council and a school advisory council.

"Those are issues that sit squarely on the board of education," she said. "Negotiations need to focus on terms of employment."

An estimated 200 hundred teachers wearing green CEA T-shirts attended the board meeting, which honored the teachers of the year from each of the district's schools.

The board also gave a budget presentation, which outlined a worst-case $11 million budget shortfall facing the district for the next school year.

Teachers pleaded with administrators to take cuts from all programs, not just teacher salaries or work days.

"It is the front line, feet on the ground, get out of bed every day and go to school educators that have made this district a success," Romanello said.

Several said they understand the cuts are inevitable, but asked that cuts be shared among all employees.

The district took five furlough days this year to deal with money shortfalls, and all employees were effected. Teachers say they had an additional three of work days cut, however, which they use to prepare for class during the summer.


Video Courtesy of