Transition teams for the yet-to-be divided Jordan School District attempted to negotiate their way through the split, but an impasse was declared. The mayors of the affected cities tried, too. The east transition team is working to hire an arbitrator. The west transition team voted Thursday to reject the mayors' plan and to proceed to arbitration.
There are stark differences in each party's view of these events. The east side views the split as the dawning of a new day in public education in Utah. The transitional school board has selected a bright and capable educator as its superintendent. Many parents are fully invested in this movement.
But things look different from the west side of Utah's largest school district. The split of the school district was foisted upon west-side communities. They had no say in the matter, which has brought about a good deal of frustration. A court challenge was rejected, which further angered residents. The west side of the school district continues to grow at a rapid pace, and residents fear they cannot support new growth and address existing debt without sizable tax increases. It should be noted that the east side will likely be in the same predicament if it is to bond to replace and remodel aging buildings and retire debt.
Time has not improved relations between these parties. Arbitrators need to move swiftly to determine how the district's assets and liabilities will be divided.
We're going to go out on a limb and predict that, should this matter be handled by arbitrators, neither transition team will be completely satisfied with the outcome. But both parties apparently agree that brokering an agreement between them is not going to happen, thus their respective decisions to hire arbitrators. It is unfortunate that it has taken this long to arrive at this juncture because the failed negotiations have further soured relations. For the sake of affected schoolchildren, faculty and other school employees, this matter needs to be resolved as soon as possible.