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South Valley Journal

Let’s Bond Together

Oct 06, 2016 03:01PM ● By Bryan Scott

Mayor Carmen R. Freeman

Mayor Carmen R. Freeman

In 2008, I had the privilege of serving on the Jordan School District Board. This elected position came on the heels of the district split. While I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to work on issues affecting our children, this appointment also carried with it the burden of keeping the new district financially viable. This economic challenge was driven by a prolific student population and a low residential and commercial tax base. Couple this predicament with the greatest recession in US history made our situation deeply concerning. This truly was an economic perfect storm thrust upon all of us who didn’t have a voice in the legal process of splitting the district.

While significant progress has been made to the economic condition of the district due to an improved economy as well as increases in residential and commercial growth, we are still lacking in funding for new schools. This demand for new schools is driven by high growth and the number of children living in communities across Jordan School District. Take for example Copper Mountain Middle School in Herriman. When this school opened three years ago it was at capacity the day the doors were opened and students filled its hallways. This demand for schools for our children will continue to increase as West Jordan, South Jordan and Herriman witness unprecedented growth.

So what can we do to “right the ship” financially and put our District on the pathway to economic stability? While the District has taken numerous steps over the last eight years to be conservative and sensitive with the funding allotted them, this simply is not enough to meet the demand of a growing student population. The clear answer to financial stability comes in the passage of the Jordan School District Bond that will be on the November ballot.

This $245 million dollar bond will be used to construct a Middle School in South Jordan, Elementary School in Bluffdale, as well as an Elementary School, Middle School and High School in Herriman. Additionally, because of safety concerns, the bond will pay for the rebuild of West Jordan Middle School.

As we consider the bond that is being proposed, the instinctive fear that enters the heart of most taxpayers is the prospect of a substantial property tax increase. Zions Bank who is consulting with Jordan School District on the bond has looked at the economic impact on homeowners if such a bond is passed. From their analysis it has been estimated that a taxpayer with a $300,000 home will see their taxes increase $16.80 per year. Given the options if the bond does not pass such as split sessions or extensive bus travel to alternate schools, this is a small investment to ensuring a high quality education and a bright future for our children.

I hope you will join me and the other mayors of our District in support of the bond. This is our opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our children and our community.