08 May 2024

Four-city Council Discussion

A Four-city council discussion was held by Lindon, Orem, Vineyard, and Pleasant Grove yesterday.

The superintendent did a great job of providing information and not speaking for anyone else.

Regarding Board Member Ada Wilson's comments:
- "Keep politics out of the process" - Every decision made about a public institution is, by definition, political. Those of us who want to divide the district are doing so because we honestly and whole heartedly feel that it is in the best interest of the students. Ada can certainly believe that staying as a whole district is better. But when someone claims that only one side is being political, they are being subjective and prejudiced.
- Ada mentions that ASD is running a tight budget, but also claims that big school districts pay teachers more. Not according to a U of U study that found that ASD was one of the lowest paying districts in Utah, far behind most districts that are smaller. https://gardner.utah.edu/blog/blog-teacher-salaries-how-does-utah-compare/
Also keep in mind that a 3 way split would still produce the 6th (Central), 9th (East), and 11th (West) largest districts in the state (all over 24,000 students). None of the new districts would be "small". Overall, I do think ASD has done as good a job that they can, but the district is too large and a more reasonable sized district could do better.
- Unfortunately, our communities do not have the information they need because the MGT study was limited in scope, and has major questions. ASD has admitted that their numbers don't match the MGT study. More information is needed and fast.
- One thing I do agree with her on is that surveys/polling (real, neutral, scientific polling) would be helpful for cities making decisions.

Board Member Julie King's comments were insightful and demonstrate the collaborative, positive, and student-focus nature of the interlocal agreements.
- I'm glad some of the concerns with the MGT study were brought up.
- "Canyons and Jordan are phenomenal districts." I think this needs to be emphasized in light of all the "doom and gloom" being projected on the idea of a split. Both those districts are still doing fine, and both are paying teachers more than ASD.

One PG city council member talked about golfing instead of being part of the discussion. I hope the residents of PG hear that and vote him out. That's just lazy and irresponsible. We need people more engaged, not less, but perhaps that's indicative of how some city councils were caught napping on this. And in that light, it's been very beneficial to have the interlocal agreements that have forced the issue to be talked about in more circles.

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