Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Cities, Jordan School District meet to stave off a split

Board responds to list of member cities’ demands, including personnel issues, in attempt to keep the district together.

First Published Jul 14 2014 02:46 pm • Last Updated Jul 14 2014 11:11 pm

Four other cities are considering joining South Jordan in asking the Jordan School District to change its ways, in hopes of avoiding a possible district split.

And it appears the Jordan district has already made at least one change, announcing to employees that Deputy Superintendent Burke Jolley will leave the district.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Board vice president Susan Pulsipher said Monday she could not comment on whether Jolley’s exit has anything to do with threats from South Jordan City of splitting from the district. But South Jordan has asked for personnel changes among other things as it considers splitting, and South Jordan Mayor David Alvord said Monday several of the council members wanted Jolley out.

Jolley declined to comment Monday about his exit, though the district announcement said it was by mutual agreement. His contract is not up until June 2015.

Pulsipher said she she couldn’t comment Monday on whether the district will have to buy out the rest of his contract. Jolley has been with the district for 16 years.

Changing personnel is just one of a number of actions the City of South Jordan has requested the district do. City leaders handed the district a list of requests earlier this month, to be responded to by the end of July — in time for the city to decide whether to place the question of a split on the November ballot.

City leaders feel the district hasn’t kept pace with the city’s rapid growth. City Council members are also awaiting the results of a feasibility study looking into a possible split before making a decision about putting the question before voters.

On Monday, leaders of South Jordan, along with the mayors of four other cities and lawmakers, met with district board members to talk about that list of requests. The mayors of the other cities are considering signing a memorandum of understanding based on those requests in hopes of avoiding a split.

Alvord, of South Jordan, said Monday that if the cities and district board can agree on the requests — ultimately in the form of an interlocal agreement — South Jordan might stop the split talk.

Signing the memorandum of understanding would be a precursor to signing an interlocal agreement.

story continues below
story continues below

"This would really help us work out an agreement that would put South Jordan in a position where we wouldn’t be interested in putting [a split] on the ballot," Alvord said of the memorandum.

The memorandum includes a number of requests, largely aimed at increasing the cities’ roles and involvement in district decisions.

For example, the memorandum would have the district board submit to the cities a five-year plan describing construction and remodeling of schools. It also asks the board to examine and evaluate all its nonschool properties and report back to the cities.

The group that met Monday made it through the four-page list of requests but not without argument.

Jordan board member Kayleen Whitelock, for example, opposed a part of the agreement that would have required the district to get approval from the cities before making changes to its five-year building plan.

"[Voters] elected us to oversee the district, not for the cities to then oversee us, and personally, some of the verbiage in this is a little offensive to me," Whitelock said. That line was struck from the memorandum.

Pulsipher also told the mayors that they need to trust that the district is changing.

"We cannot move into the future if you treat us like we’re still in the past," she said.

And Rep. Jim Bird, R-West Jordan, called the memorandum a "one-way street" with Jordan being asked to make all the changes. He said if he were asked to sign it, he’d "tear it up and walk out of the room."

Riverton Mayor Bill Applegarth, however, said the memorandum was meant as a starting point, not a final document.

South Jordan City Councilman Mark Seethaler said changes are needed to improve communication between the cities and district.

Next Page >

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.