Possible changes to schools could be coming in Salt Lake City School District

Feb 8, 2023, 9:00 PM
Changes could be coming to all elementary schools in the Salt Lake City School District....
Students leave Mount Logan Middle School in Logan on Wednesday, March 29, 2017. FPhoto credit: Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Changes could potentially be coming to schools in the Salt Lake City School District. 

The Board of Education for the Salt Lake City School District held a meeting Tuesday night to decide on the future of some of the schools in the district, including all of the elementary schools.

Yandary Chatwin, spokeswoman for the Salt Lake City School District, joined Dave and Dujanovic with hosts Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic to discuss the matter.

Dujanovic says there was a legislative audit, which found that district enrollment had declined 13% over the past five years. As a result, it is costing the district more per child. 

It costs the Salt Lake City School District $15,000 to educate a child. Elsewhere in the state, the average cost is $12,000 per child, Dujanovic said.

Changes to schools

Dujanovic started the conversation by asking why does the Board of Education want to look at all of the elementary schools?

Chatwin says for the past year the district leadership team has taken a deep dive into every school in the last year. She says they looked at everything from demographics, school programs and school boundaries. 

“What we realized is that we need to look at all of them,” Chatwin said. “When we think about looking at one school, all of the schools around it are gonna be impacted.”

She says that’s the guidance the Board of Education gave the district on Tuesday night.

Noriega asked, “Does it change the current plan where you were going to start closing schools?”

“No, this is part of the process,” Chatwin said. “So, our board policy makes sure this period, this process is done very carefully. So, it actually takes place over two school years. We started last year, and we’ve been studying over the last several months.”

Chatwin says a decision from the School Board, regarding boundary realignments or school closures won’t come for several months. She said a decision on the matter won’t be made until next December or January.

Public input is planned on the possible changes to schools

Dujanovic pointed out that there are going to be a lot of families impacted by these decisions. 

“So, (is) there going to be a lot of public hearings over this?”

Chatwin says there will be a district administrator appointed to oversee the boundary and planning process.

“Because this is so important to them,” Chatwin said. “They wanted to have someone tasked with that.”

Chatwin says part of this person’s responsibilities is to plan open houses and to meet with school community councils. She says anyone with immediate questions can reach out to the district.

“But rest assured there will be plenty of opportunities for public feedback,” Chatwin said. 

“Don’t you have enough information?” Noreiga asked.

“There is a process laid out in policy that we have to follow,” Chatwin said. “And it has to take a span of two school years. Again, this is a process that formally started last year.”

Chatwin says after open houses, the public will have two opportunities for public feedback in November. At the first meeting in December, the Board can then take action on something that has been heard twice.

Another high school

Also at the meeting Tuesday night, a discussion of a high school in the Glendale area was held.

“The Board really valued public input,” Chatwin said. “And we have heard from many, many community members across our city that they want a fourth comprehensive high school in the Glendale area.”

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

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Possible changes to schools could be coming in Salt Lake City School District