K-12 EDUCATION

Granite School District blames recent school closures on low enrollment

Jul 27, 2023, 4:00 PM | Updated: Aug 7, 2023, 10:36 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Granite School District has been forced to close three elementary schools this year.

The district experienced a substantial drop in enrolments over the last five-10 years resulting in Millcreek, Twin Peaks and Spring Lane Elementary closing their doors at the end of the 2022/2023 school year.

According to Ben Horsley, the chief of staff at Granite School District, there are simply not enough students to justify keeping the schools open. 

“Granite School District peaked with student enrollment with about 78,000 students in the late 90s. And since that time, we have declined about 20,000 students,” said Horsley. 

“So we’re roughly 40 58,000 students now… And we have roughly the same amount of buildings. The school closures are necessitated by the fact that many of our elementaries are sub-300 students.”

Parents have been upset and made comments claiming that only schools in low social economic areas have been closed.

“There are much more impoverished schools that remain open. These schools aren’t even our most impoverished schools,” explained Horsley. “And in fact, Spring Lane is located in Holladay City, which is one of our highest socioeconomic areas in our entire district. So with due respect, that’s not accurate information and we continue to have many diverse and higher poverty schools that remained open as part of this process.”

More closures

The Granite School District has been conducting a study since February to determine another possible closure. Horsley previously told KSL NewsRadio that the study started broadly, but the district voted two weeks ago to limit the study to the possible closure of one school: Western Hills Elementary School in Kearns.

Around the same time as the Granite School District’s vote, a committee recommended that the Salt Lake City School District look into seven elementary schools for possible closures. As previously reported by KSL NewsRadio, those schools were: Emerson, Hawthorne, Bennion, Jackson, Newman, Riley, and Wasatch Elementary.

At the end of June, the Alpine School District Board voted to close Valley View and Sharon Elementary, effective this fall.

Lehi, Lindon and Windsor Elementary were also on the cutting board but remain open for now.

Samantha Herrera contributed to the reporting of this story.

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Granite School District blames recent school closures on low enrollment