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South Valley Journal

How Jordan School District boundary changes will affect Riverton

Nov 20, 2018 11:00AM ● By Mariden Williams

By Mariden Williams | [email protected]

On Oct. 28, Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs livestreamed an interview with Jordan School District Board of Education representative Matt Young as part of Riverton's ongoing LIVE with the Mayor video feature. 

"This conversation is timely, in the sense that these boundary adjustments in the Jordan School District are happening now," said Staggs. "This conversation is not only timely but is going to be very good, very informative for all of our residents." 

A number of Rose Creek residents will be sent to Bluffdale Elementary, and some of the Southland community will be sent to Riverton Elementary, but most Rose Creek and Southland residents will be sent to Rosamond Elementary.

"There were far more elementary changes to the Riverton area schools than I had anticipated," said Young. "In large part, that was because of some of the overcrowding issues that are occurring in the South Jordan schools. As our administration looked at how to meet that need of evening out our populations, they looked to our Riverton schools to accommodate some of that growth." 

Riverton is perhaps most significantly impacted by the middle school boundary changes. A good chunk of residents currently zoned for Oquirrh Hills will be rezoned to attend a new middle school being built in Bluffdale when it opens in the fall of 2020. 

"That is a significant impact to that community,” Young said. “They're used to attending primarily Oquirrh, which is closer, and we acknowledge that it is closer. But as we looked at the utilization of our assets and how to best plan long term, we knew that as Bluffdale continues to grow, there would be an increasing demand for a middle school out there.”

The Jordan School District does own property close to the as-of-yet unnamed high school being built in Herriman and could theoretically build a middle school there instead of in Bluffdale. But that property is already a stone's throw away from South Hills Middle School. 

"The long-term concern was that one of those schools would ultimately be under-utilized. And so to spread that out, we chose the Bluffdale site," said Young. Some bussing will be required, but ultimately, that would have been necessary at either of the proposed sites.

Riverton students from the Monarch Meadows area will now go to South Hills Middle School. All of Rose Creek will be shifted to Oquirrh Hills Middle School, so they will no longer need to cross Bangerter Highway to get to school.  

Staggs addressed some concerns from residents that the rezones would still force some students to cross perilously busy roads. 

"With this change, there will be some that will not have to cross Bangerter Highway, but on the south side, there in that Monarch Meadows area, with this change, there will be other students who will need to cross Bangerter," said Staggs. Bangerter isn’t the only busy road that will pose challenges but also the extremely fast-paced Mountain View Corridor. 

"Mountain View Corridor, while a wonderful asset for our transportation needs out here, has created, to say the least, significant concerns with regards of how to appropriately boundary kids," said Young. 

The school board understands these concerns and will provide transportation for anybody who is required to cross Mountain View Corridor or areas of Bangerter that lack overpasses. 

"Whether that's a shuttle service, true bus route, we're still in the process,” Young said. “But we've authorized our transportation department to begin looking at those routes."  

Over the course of the redistricting process, the school board has put out several surveys where residents could leave feedback on the three redistricting  options. According to Young, they received more than 800 pages of comments on the first survey alone. 

"I've been receiving a lot of email, primarily from Riverton and Bluffdale residents,” Young said. “I am just so grateful that I have the privilege of representing the Riverton area. People feel strongly about it, but they're polite, they're straightforward, and they're looking for solutions. I really appreciate the feedback people are providing me directly." 

"It's a great contrast to the national dialogue that usually happens,” Staggs said. “The civility that may not be there in some part, it is here in our community.” 

Parents wishing to have their children attend a school they are not zoned for must go through a permitting process. It can be done online, and applications will open on Dec. 1.