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Jordan District Proves Their Unwillingness to Help Students

This morning the Deseret News reported that the Jordan School district has rejected a deal that could help them save a lot of money, and keep them from raising taxes again on the Citizens on the South West Side of Salt Lake County. While they claim its for the best. Let’s look what what the real reasons are.

First, let’s look at why the Jordan School District Board refused to accept the offer from American Preparatory Academy (APA). They claim, “It makes no sense to build another school in an area where the population is declining,” said Steve Dunham, district spokesman. “And while, yes, we could build it where we might need a building, their charter is still designed to target a specific demographic.”

However, the offer was to build the school wherever the District felt that the growth was needed. While talk is that they would charter the school out of the abandoned building on 104th South and 1300 West. That wasn’t a part of the initial offer.

So, let’s take a look at the real reason the Jordan School has refused the offer. The first, and perhaps the most revealing, reason is the close connection that the Jordan School District has with the Utah Education Association (UEA). If you have watch the actions of the Jordan School District it has almost always been at the bidding of the UEA.

If they grant APA the right to open a school in their district, then that means less jobs for the UEA. That means that the UEA will make that much less money. This isn’t about best serving the citizens of the south west valley. It is about serving the UEA.

The second reason is the fear that APA will do better than they have done. Consistently, Charter schools have out performed of the public schools. This is pretty much regardless of location and the general make up of the student. This success is also done with a lower per pupil spending than the public schools.

If the APA succeeds in a new school, then it will show that the Jordan School District is failing. It will show that the Charter School system works. The Jordan School District doesn’t want to admit that. And the UEA doesn’t want that to be proven.

If the School District and the UEA believed that Charter Schools were bad, then they could use this as a chance to prove it. However, they won’t, because Charter Schools have been a success, and that make the competition too great for the Jordan School District.

The worst part of this is not that the School District won’t embrace this idea. It’s that students are hurting. Students are suffering because of the pride of the Jordan School District Board. It isn’t about the money for me. It is about the students. And the School District doesn’t seem to understand that.

As far as I am concerned, it is time to clean up house in the Jordan School District. Many positions are up for re-election this year, and I know that I will not be voting for any incumbents, and I will be supporting at least one candidate who can and will make a difference. In encourage you to do so too.

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3 comments to Jordan District Proves Their Unwillingness to Help Students

  • Barbara

    The Deseret News article indicated:
    “The charter school was granted a federal $9 million Qualified School Construction Bond in 2009 but, because charter schools can’t levy taxes, was having trouble securing an investor. Headlee said he hoped Jordan, in exchange for a much-needed facility, would back American Preparatory for the loan.”

    I’m not sure exactly what this means but I think it means JSD would have to show the $9M bond as debt thus affecting their bond rating. The only way I know that the school district can “back a loan” is to pledge its taxing ability to repay the loan should the charter school default. If I were a JSD taxpayer, I don’t know that I would want my future taxes pledge in this manner because there would be no JSD oversight of the building project. Is it appropriate for a school district to make such a pledge when they have no control over the operations of the charter school?

    • I would have no problem with this. The APA has proven itself a viable organization, and they could handle their funds and their education well. Why are we only relying on the financial track record of the JSD and not the history (although breif) of the APA.

  • Darren Beck

    Further to your comments, APA has consistently and significantly raised student academic achievement rates for ALL students since opening in 2003. The new school in the APA model, School for New Americans, is poised to do much the same. Districts should be ashamed of themselves–they simply pass a new bond rather than investigate ways to make each dollar more powerful, more meaningful with regards to meeting the needs of students. Some charters are not as successful here in Utah, but most beat their closest traditional neighbor schools annually on test data and in terms of how money is used.

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