South Jordan drops idea of splitting from school district for now
The South Jordan City Council unanimously voted Tuesday to not place the question of splitting from Jordan School District on the November ballot, letting the issue go for at least a year.
The interlocal agreement the city signed with the district instead allows for annual review and termination if necessary. The contract is also anticipated to be signed by the other four cities in the district West Jordan, Herriman, Bluffdale and Riverton.
"We're moving forward on faith that they'll deliver it and that it'll be a quality product," Councilman Chuck Newton said about the Jordan School District.
In an attempt to compromise with the district, the City Council drafted the document with details to improve communication and planning strategies.
Newton has always wanted to place the question before the voters, at the very least. But he told the district if they signed the agreement, he would let go of the idea of a new district for at least a year.
"What I was always interested in really was leaving it up to the voters and letting them make the choice because they're the ones that are going to get hit ... with the higher taxes for the bonds," he said. "But we're willing to give Jordan School District another year to kick the can down the road."
It's possible the city will bring up arguments of forming its own district again next year if the Jordan district doesn't keep up its side of the contract.
Part of the reason the council decided against putting the question of a split before the voters are the negative results of the recent feasibility study.
Creating a new school district would likely cost taxpayers 5 percent to 14 percent more in taxes than staying in the Jordan district, depending on a number of scenarios, according to the feasibility study conducted by Lewis Young Robertson and Burningham, Inc.
For example, if the city stays with the district, a South Jordan resident with a $300,000 home would likely see his taxes jump from $1,093 to $1,454 because of bonding for new schools. But forming a new district would also likely have that same resident paying $1,559, because the city would have to create an entire administrative structure for the new district.