Representatives of the freshly split east and west sides of Jordan School District have differing opinions on the results of a Deseret News/KSL-TV poll.

A total of 72 percent of those polled indicated they believe both sides of a school district should have a say on whether to split a school district — not just leave the decision up to one side.

The Dan Jones & Associates poll, taken June 16-19, included 405 registered voters statewide. It has a margin of error of 5 percent.

A total of 12 percent of those polled said they believe only the residents of the splitting area should vote on whether to split from a district.

Ralph Haws, chairman of Jordan district's west transition team, said he thinks the poll results mean most people have a desire to be reasonable.

"It's a fairness issue," he said. "I think people are saying if you put a law into effect that affects you and I, then both you and I should have a chance to vote on it."

However, Steve Newton, chairman of Jordan district's east transition team which is dealing with asset issues, said the law is the law regardless of the poll. He added, "It's good public policy to have a group vote to exit a district because it keeps big and unresponsive districts responsive to individual communities."

Haws points out when decisions are made regarding fire, police and roads, everyone has the opportunity to vote on that.

"We're in a democracy," he said. "We need to have the ability to vote on issues that affect our quality of life and our financial resources."

Newton says the east side broke away from the remaining district because the east side's needs were being ignored.

"Now we have a remedy," he said. "It's not as if districts have to cater to every whim — but they need to be responsive. The bottom line is it's done, and it's excellent public policy."

Eight percent of those polled stated they feel no school district should be allowed to split up.

In November, east-side residents voted to split from Jordan and form their own school district. Since early spring the transition teams representing the east and west sides have been trying to agree on a plan to adequately split the district's assets and liabilities. A number of proposals have been presented, but no agreements have been reached. In April, each side retained legal counsel to prepare for arbitration, though they are still trying to work out an agreement.

Alpine and Davis school district officials said they are watching closely what is happening in Jordan district. During the past four years there have been two groups, one in Orem and one in Lehi, that have brought up the idea of splitting.

Alpine district spokeswoman Rhonda Bromley said the district follows the law. She added, "There would be a lot of challenges if we split."

Davis district spokesman Chris Williams said there has been no talk of splitting Davis but "it's wise for everyone to watch Jordan district" as it proceeds with its split.


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