Cost of splitting Jordan (Utah) district: $33 million

April 16, 2009
Legal battle over dividing assets added to costs

FromThe Salt Lake Tribune: The breakup of Utah's largest school district may rank among the costliest in state history. The tab so far: $33 million. That's according to reports obtained by the Tribune showing how much was spent thus far dividing the Jordan School District. A protracted legal battle over Jordan's assets accounts for about $3 million. The rest was spent hiring people to run the new Canyons district and relocating Jordan's central offices, which Canyons inherits.

FROM FEBRUARY 2009: When the Jordan (Utah) School District split goes live this summer, schools on the east side will have a richer property tax base to tap into than schools on the west side. Seeking to remedy this imbalance, the Jordan School Board -- representing west side schools -- is endorsing legislation that would require the "equalization" of property tax revenue within a district before it splits. Sponsored by West Jordan Republican Rep. Jim Bird, the bill would not stop the split, but could complicate matters for the arbitration panel tasked with the divvying of Jordan's assets. The measure also promises to prolong an already costly and contentious divorce with the new east side Canyons District. (Salt Lake Tribune)

FROM NOVEMBER 2008: The two halves of the Jordan (Utah) School District - what remains of the Jordan district, along with the breakaway area, the newly named Canyons School District - have been unable to reach an agreement to share administrative and non-academic services. During negotiations, the Canyons district proposal raised the possibility of resurrecting the issue of splitting assets between the two districts, rather than leaving that matter to a three-member team of arbitrators. Members of the remaining Jordan School District's board wasted no time in rejecting the proposal. ( Salt Lake Tribune) FROM SEPTEMBER 2008: Transition teams battling over a split of assets belonging to the original Jordan (Utah) School District have each chosen an arbitrator. Those two arbitrators, however, have missed adeadline to name a third to the panel so that arbitration can begin. ( Salt Lake Tribune)

EARLIER: Conflict over the Jordan (Utah) School District split has become more public -- one side is calling for arbitration while the other suggests putting the entire process on hold indefinitely. The sticking point between groups representing the new east-side district and what will remain of the existing district is how to divide the assets. Each side has come up with proposals for how to do that, but all have been rejected. The east-side favors arbitration. Leaders on the west-side have crafted a resolution they will give to Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. requesting a special session in which the process could be studied more in depth. (Salt Lake Tribune)

Talks on the division of Jordan (Utah) School District assets have failed, and the process is headed for arbitration. Proposals and counterproposals have been passed back and forth between the east-side and west-side transition teams. The two teams are charged with divvying up the assets of the Jordan School District in preparation for the district's split into two. According to the state statute on district splits, if the teams cannot agree, the process moves to arbitration. (Salt Lake Tribune)

FROM JUNE 2008: Pending changes from a voter-approved split of the Jordan (Utah) School District have classified employees unsure about whether they will have a say in what happens to their jobs. The district has about 4,000 classified employees, including bus drivers, English learner staff, custodians, secretaries, mechanics, lunchroom staff, information system staff and maintenance. Some of those employees are nervous because they work for the district and are not assigned to a school. The law under which Jordan was split provides that all employees assigned to a school, from the principal on down, will work for the district in which their school is situated. ( Salt Lake Tribune)

FROM MAY 2008: Members of the transition team representing what will become the east-side Jordan (Utah) School District have unanimously approved a proposal for dividing property and assets once the district splits. The new proposal leaves only one issue to be resolved--a method for determining the monetary value of real property. If an agreement on that issue is not reached through mediation by June 1, representatives from both sides will go to arbitration. A negotiating team, made up of two members of transition teams from the new district and what remains of the old Jordan School District, came up with the new proposal after the first one was rejected. (Salt Lake Tribune)

FROM APRIL 2008: The new school district being formed from the Jordan (Utah) School District's east side is seeking a superintendent. The deadline to apply is June 13. Hiring a superintendent will be one of the first actions taken by the new east-side school board after members take office in July. The new board will be made up of three newly elected board members and four members who will be retained from the existing Jordan School Board. (Salt Lake Tribune)

EARLIER: Members of a transition team representing what will remain of the Jordan (Utah) School District after it is divided into two have rejected a 13-point plan spelling out how Jordan assets would be distributed to the new districts. They're unhappy about how a $196 million school construction bond would be distributed by the plan, which calls for 57 percent of the bond proceeds to go to the new east-side district and 43 percent to what would remain of Jordan. (Salt Lake Tribune)

From 2007: Voters have approved splitting the Jordan (Utah) School District, and east-side cities in the district are gearing up for the transition. The main priority, officials agree, is creating two transition teams that will oversee transferring of assets between the new and remaining district. The cities and unincorporated areas of Salt Lake County that will make up the new east-side district have until Dec. 20 to form their transition team. (Salt Lake Tribune)

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