Voters reject $495M Jordan School District bond; smaller bonds succeed

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  • Kirk R Graves West Jordan, UT
    Nov. 10, 2013 12:41 p.m.

    The bond failed not because we in the Jordan District didn't want to spend the money (though the sticker shock was what got people to pay attention), but because the bond was a blank check, without the careful fiscal planning it should have included
    I would gladly pay extra. I would even be willing to cut the child tax credits (if the extra went to the district). What I am not willing to do is hand the district an extra $300 a year without some idea of how that money will be spent, and without trusting that the district will be frugal with it.

    Jordan School District, please try again next year. I'm betting you get the money if you will just show that you have put some serious thought into being frugal with the money we give you.

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    Nov. 9, 2013 8:13 a.m.

    The people who voted no are most likely the same ones who drop their kids off for school in new suburban's or other top of the line SUVS. If you don't believe me visit a school during early morning hours and observe the vehicles most parents drive. Education is expensive. Our teachers and students deserve better.

  • kquist1 Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 7, 2013 12:41 p.m.

    The following statement was released by the Jordan School District reiterating that Dan Jones & Associates did not conduct the poll on their behalf:

    "This letter is in response to inaccuracies that have been reported regarding the Jordan School District growth survey conducted last June. This survey was not conducted by Dan Jones & Associates and the District did not have a contractual agreement with Dan Jones & Associates. Any reference to an officially sanctioned Dan Jones & Associates survey is incorrect.

    This study, conducted online through SurveyMonkey, was designed to engage parents and patrons over growth issues facing Jordan School District. The District wishes to thank Pat Jones for the volunteer time she spent assisting District officials in creating the survey and reviewing the results.

    We sincerely apologize to Dan Jones & Associates in the District's survey.

    Jordan School District respects Dan Jones & Associates and regrets any misuse of their corporate brand. Media organizations that reported our survey as being conducted by Dan Jones & Associates have been contacted by Jordan School District to correct this issue.


    Patrice A. Johnson, Ed.D.
    Superintendent of Schools"

  • Beaker Draper, UT
    Nov. 7, 2013 5:44 a.m.

    Actually UteRock1, CCSD was genius in what they did. They moved 9th grade up to high school and all of our high schools have over 2,000 in attendance at each school. Hillcrest actually has the largest attendance this year with 2,200 students. Alta is the smallest with 1,800.

    Good luck to the JSD in figuring out what to do next. It sound they will be splitting kids up and have them go different hours of the day. Some kids will have school until 7:30 at night. There is no other choice.

  • Demisana South Jordan, UT
    Nov. 6, 2013 4:17 p.m.

    "Recent charter school building costs have been in the range of $100 to $115 per square foot while some school boards have been spending in the neighborhood of $150 per square foot. Most charter schools cut building costs additionally by having fewer square feet per student."

    The above is a quote from a Utah Taxpayer Assoc. I can't link to here by the rules. Jordan has a bad history of poor spending choices. I understand they need some new schools and some renovation. I can't afford their wish list though.

    Or for that matter, their tactics. As my husband and I were leaving our local elementary where we voted yesterday, there was a sign on the lawn citing the goodies the school would get if we voted for the bond. Pre-printed, and specific to that school. Makes me think other schools also had such signs. Don't tell me the people who printed and placed them are ignorant that such signs next to voting places are illegal.

  • bdjedi28 West Jordan, UT
    Nov. 6, 2013 1:19 p.m.

    @ JACC

    How well do you keep to your budget? Do you waste water, electricity, etc.? Do you know exactly how the funds are handled or are you just making assumptions based on what you have heard? If a budget is proposed and there are specific plans of what to do with that budget and the people administering the funds stay within the budget, then yes $20 a month more than what I am currently paying for my children's education is totally worth it! If there is proof that the people in charge have mishandled funds in the past then show it to us so it is more than just words, but actual facts.

  • RIV 6 Riverton, UT
    Nov. 6, 2013 12:52 p.m.

    The solution is to put this into private hands. Charter Schools are the best solution to this issue. Private operators can partner with local developers to build schools at lower cost and operate at significantly higher levels of efficiency. UT Charter Schools are some of the best performing schools in the State, and have much less bureaucracy and wasted funds than traditional schools. Developers can go tie up the same land that the district would use, get a bank loan, get a long term lease with the school, cost to taxpayers. Look at the issues they are having in ID. They significantly limit the number of charters they issue for new schools, because they want to keep the fat cat bureaucrats at the Districts happy. UT is much more friendly to Charters. Teachers suffer and students suffer because of poor management, wasted funds, and way too much government. Get the parents involved, get the teachers in a better environment, get the kids in a strong learning environment, and save the taxpayers some money.

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    Nov. 6, 2013 11:54 a.m.


    "I'm waiting for THEM to do THEIR job and "come up with some actual solutions" that I can believe in."

    How many board meetings did you attend during the process? Did you get a group together to come up with suggestions they could use to formulate their proposal? School boards are the lowest-level of government and the Board held many meetings to discuss this bond proposal with the public.

    I'm going to guess that you didn't attend one board meeting where this was discussed. I say that because as the spouse of a teacher in your district, we attended several meetings and there was almost no one from the local community at any of the meetings we attended. Public input was sought at every meeting and no one from the community had had the time to bother to show up and voice their concern. Like I said twice now, NO is so easy.

  • lket Bluffdale, UT
    Nov. 6, 2013 11:43 a.m.

    my grandfather did some of the planning for the belt route. he told them buy the land early and save money. they did not buy early and people built houses in the right of way anyway and fought the road in the courts for years. the decline of our country can be seen in this bond. people are only worrying about thenselves not the whole. I only have 2 children but i am willing to help pay more for all of them and ones to come because that is what we do in this country. tax now, or tax way more later.

  • dba57 Bluffdale, UT
    Nov. 6, 2013 11:30 a.m.

    @CHS 85:

    I personally don't believe that we need anywhere near $490 million to fund infrastructure that is actually necessary.

    Please refer to 'casual observer's' comment that appeared just before yours for a good response to your concerns. A key point was "administrators ... have not gained the publics' trust for wise use of education funds".

    Just one example that sticks in my craw is the football field at the new Herriman High School. It has a gorgeous new artificial playing surface. But why was that necessary? How many other more important priorities could have been addressed with the money that was spent on that field?

    I'm not burying my head in the sand. I'm hoping that the district officers will get the message that the citizens are not simply going to hand them a blank check. At least not until they demonstrate more wisdom and restraint. I'm waiting for THEM to do THEIR job and "come up with some actual solutions" that I can believe in.

  • ProudFather Draper, UT
    Nov. 6, 2013 11:20 a.m.

    UteRock1, You do realize that Hilcrest has over 2,000 students enrolled? All the schools average nearly the same enrollment.

    See article:

    Where in CCSD are you seeing empty buildings? JSD, now's a good time to start preparing for the flood of children.

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    Nov. 6, 2013 10:49 a.m.


    If you were to cut 1/2 of the administrators in the District - including 1/2 of all principals, you would save Jordan District $8 million dollars. There, now they only need $490 million dollars to fund infrastructure. That's a HUGE difference.

    Where's your actual, feasible ideas on how to manage the exploding growth in the area? These same mayors who said to vote down the bond proposal are the same ones approving new developments with no growth plan.

    Like I said before, it is easy to just say NO! It is the adults who need to step up and come up with some actual solutions. The problem isn't going to go away simply because you bury your head in the sand.

  • casual observer Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 6, 2013 10:43 a.m.

    The bond issue was poorly crafted. Not being in JSD, it appeared that this was an invitation to spend half a billion dollars by administrators who have not gained the publics' trust for wise use of education funds. From comments I've heard, it was less a rejection of targeted funding for needed school upgrades than it was a cautionary note in favor of incremental spending. Handing anyone $500 million to spend as they see fit is a reach.

  • JACC Bluffdale, UT
    Nov. 6, 2013 9:58 a.m.


    You criticize people for feeling that "a $20 per month bill to pay for a child's education is 'too much'". I don't think that is at all fair or accurate. It would be much more fair to say that they feel "$20 per month bill ON TOP OF WHAT THEY ALREADY PAY for a child's education AND FAR TOO MUCH BUREAUCRATIC WASTE AND MISMANAGEMENT is 'too much'.

  • bulldog72 Holladay, UT
    Nov. 6, 2013 9:42 a.m.

    If you think there is a better way to do this, then don't stop at simply voting no, that is the easy way out. Take action and make a difference! Don't just vote no and still expect everybody else to solve the problem. If you want a different solution, then step up and be part of it!

  • bdjedi28 West Jordan, UT
    Nov. 6, 2013 9:39 a.m.

    It seems that people are wiling to pay for things that don't matter like TV, Smart phones, etc. but when it comes to a $20 per month bill to pay for a child's education that is 'too much'. People are so often complaining that the government doesn't allocate enough money for education, yet they are unwilling to pay out of their own pockets to make it happen. I am disappointed this didn't pass, I hope something in the future passes or the children will suffer. Huge class sizes, unsafe environments, teachers quitting because the work load goes up and the pay does down. These are what you can expect when you don't allocate funds for education. Prepare for a generation of under educated kids and all the problems inherent with that :(

  • bdjedi28 West Jordan, UT
    Nov. 6, 2013 9:33 a.m.

    How sad. People are always asking the government to put more money into education, but apparently it has to be someone else's money and not their own. $240 a year is not that much when you consider the effect it will have on the future of so many children. Class sizes are going to be huge to be able to house the number of students projected for the future. Stop paying for cable TV and invest in something that will matter for your future!

  • ken12s North Salt Lake, UT
    Nov. 6, 2013 9:18 a.m.

    In a place were the state pays people to have more babies, in the form of tax deductions. And super sized families are inherent in some of the minority cultures and preached from the pulpit on Sunday what does one expect but super sized population growth and packed schools? Utah is not one of the fastest growing states in the Union because people are moving here in droves, it's a home grown problem. If people want big families and also better schools then now is a good time for them to put their money were their mouth is and do away with the tax breaks for children or impose a head tax to help raise at least some of the needed money. You can't have your cake and eat it too!

  • UteROCK1 Riverton, UT
    Nov. 6, 2013 9:15 a.m.

    @Beaker LOL - No, I believe the JDS citizen is willing to vote for a bond that makes sense vs doing what the Corner Canyon District did by building a new high school that wasn't needed. Why is Hillcrest High School so empty and yet the Corner Canyon district built a new high school nearby vs adjusting boundaries? Yep, bad management of tax payers money. Like somebody said above, go look at what California did with tax payers money and look where it got them. I am proud of the JSD voter for making a statement that the money needs to be managed better.

  • Dutchman Murray, UT
    Nov. 6, 2013 9:09 a.m.

    Keep a close eye on the State Legislature. Don't be surprised when the legislature attempts or finds a way to fund the construction of new schools in the Jordan School District by taxing the rest of us who have supported and paid for bonds in our own school districts. Those is the Jordan District should build their own schools and not rely on the rest of us.

  • Beaker Draper, UT
    Nov. 6, 2013 8:57 a.m.

    And you wonder why Corner Canyon School District was formed? JSD cititzen just voted that they don't want to pay for new buildings and upgrades for their childrens' education. I'm sorry but new schools are needed for your population. Make them nice so they will last. Splurge and get new heating systems instead of boilers. Get more teachers that can handle the population.

    We are loving our new schools in Draper. We passed a bond a few years ago. They are top of the line, beautiful facilites where our kids can learn and be proud of their school and community. Our taxes have increased but our kids are worth it.

  • bulldog72 Holladay, UT
    Nov. 6, 2013 8:44 a.m.

    I agree that changing boundaries is a good idea but is only a short term solution. Some foresight is needed here. As JFK said, "The best time to fix the roof is when it is not raining"

  • UteROCK1 Riverton, UT
    Nov. 6, 2013 8:40 a.m.

    As a resident of Riverton, I would have been ok with a bond that fixed some of the older schools and even build new elementaries where it made sense. However, the reason I voted against it was that there are schools in the Jordan District that are not full in West Jordan and I would like to see these get filled first. I would like to see the district adjust some boundaries and fill schools that are already built first before expanding. Seems like the district is affraid of South Jordan and won't change the boundaries when it makes sense and is needed. The board members need to manage the tax payers money at our best interest vs having their own agendas. Yes, go ahead and get a bond for West Jordan middle school but slow down on the expansion if it is not needed. I am willing to pay more if the Jordan District Board managed the boundaries and growth better. This bond would have cost me over $400 a year - C'Mon Man.

  • bulldog72 Holladay, UT
    Nov. 6, 2013 8:28 a.m.

    3. Your schedule, and you child's athletic endeavors, get screwed up because your child goes to school either from 6:00am-12:30pm or 1:00pm to 7:30pm
    4. Your middle school or high school child goes to school year round just like they do in elementary
    5. Good teachers leave the district when they are asked to work 30% more hours with no increase in compensation after already being on a salary freeze and seeing their benefits increase every year
    6. Your students are bused over 15 miles away to fill other schools not in your boundary (you will not get a choice on this)
    I understand that there is a cost that people do not want to play, but these things cost money, and that money has to come from somewhere. I would love to see it come from other sources but that is not the reality. You get what you pay for, so please do not complain about the quality of education that your child receives if it is all that you are willing to provide. *Not an educator, but a very concerned parent who values my child's education.

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    Nov. 6, 2013 8:27 a.m.

    What more would you like the schools to do? The school my wife teaches at in Herriman already has 1300 students on a year-round schedule. There are 14 portable classrooms on the playground, also known as the "trailer park" and teachers rotate from room to room as they track on and off.

    Perhaps the bond was too big, but please have the common sense to see that the problem isn't going to simply go away because the bond did not pass.

    You made 'em. You need to care for 'em. The folks in that part of town seem to preach "personal responsibility" all the time. Let's see some. Let's see the solution that you all have to refurbish out of date buildings while building new ones for the exploding population without spending any money. I won't hold my breath waiting to see it. It's easy to say NO! Not so easy to actually have a solution.

  • bulldog72 Holladay, UT
    Nov. 6, 2013 8:28 a.m.

    How do all of you know that this was too much? How do you know that this is not what schools cost? Are you just in sticker shock on the total, or do you have some data and some numbers to back that up? Just please don't complain when the following things happen:
    1. Your child sits on the floor in a classroom because there is no more room for desks (already happening)
    2. Your child gets hurt in PE class because one teacher cannot keep their eyes on all 75 students in their class every minute (already happening)

  • JACC Bluffdale, UT
    Nov. 6, 2013 7:47 a.m.

    If one of my neighbors who work in the Jordan School District had lost their wristwatch, and honestly couldn't afford to replace it, I would have been happy to buy them a new Timex, but not a Rolex.

    With this bond the District was asking for a Rolex.

  • evansrichdm west jordan , UT
    Nov. 6, 2013 7:19 a.m.

    What now.

    The school my wife teachs in is over 50 years old and still uses a boiler to heat up the school, there have also been a number of health issues that teachers have had which and be linked to the school building. My wife loves teaching, but there are days when I wish she would quit and go teach at a different school just for the sake of her health.

    Was the bond to much? Must be since this state is know for how cheap it can be. You get what you pay for, you want good teachers then give them good pay, good building and a reasonable number of students to teach.

  • play by the rules SOUTH JORDAN, UT
    Nov. 6, 2013 7:19 a.m.

    I am so happy to see that common sense prevailed. We don't need palatial new schools that we can't afford. Now the sky is falling mantra will start from the teachers union. I have seen this over and over in California.

  • Western Rover Herriman, UT
    Nov. 6, 2013 7:09 a.m.

    A survey can model the thoughts of a voter who steps up to the voting booth not knowing in advance what's going to be on the ballot, but that's not how most voters operate. Obviously voters will form their decision as they take time during the weeks before the election to study the issues, and a survey taken months in advance cannot capture that.

  • #1UtahSportsFan WEST JORDAN, UT
    Nov. 6, 2013 12:44 a.m.

    Not surprising at all...proponents of the bond will say that this is a huge loss for kids-which it is. But, what I think it really indicates is that the public is absolutely unwilling to give a $500 million dollar blank check to an institution which has repeatedly shown itself to be poorly financially managed. Giving Jordan that kind of money would have been absolutely unthinkable. There are literally dozens of instances that I know of (and I speak as an insider who has seen, lived through and can list these occurrences...) in which money was squandered needlessly. I also speak as a parent of kids in the district and am saddened by how this will impact my kids. But, I cannot support giving the money to an institution which I KNOW will waste some if not much of the money.