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Canyons School District has maintained its sterling, “AAA” bond rating, according to the credit rating firm Fitch.

A signal of confidence to bond investors, the “AAA” designation reflects Canyons’ “solid financial operations...and low debt burden,” stated Fitch in a press announcement.

This isn’t the first endorsement of Canyons District’s fiscal integrity. Moody's Investors Service also gives Canyons an "AAA" rating. And this year, Business Administrator Leon Wilcox and his team have secured not one, but two budgeting awards. Most recently, Canyons was honored by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada with a Distinguished Budget Presentation Award, which reflects CSD’s commitment to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting. The distinction comes just weeks after CSD’s receipt of the Association of School Business Officials’ Meritorious Budget Award.

The “AAA” rating, however, is especially critical as it has a bearing on the District’s ability to affordably bond to pay for an estimated $300 million in deferred upgrades to its school buildings. A high rating is like having perfect credit, which translates to low interest rates and millions in savings to taxpayers.

The District is on time and under budget with construction projects financed through a $250 million bond that voters approved in 2010. Since then, Canyons has undertaken an average of two major construction projects each year with crews undertaking the final project this summer: a remodel of Indian Hills Middle. All this, and more, was achieved without a single property tax increase. 

Propelled by rising property values, the District’s aggregate taxable assessed valuation rebounded strongly after a 7 percent recessionary decline. This, coupled with growth (new residential and commercial construction), gave rise to an 18 percent rise in valuation between fiscal years 2013 and 2016 — and projections are for continued annual growth.
A new year. A new home. A fresh look. There are a lot of changes in store for Butler Elementary.

Not only will students be attending classes in a new school building this fall, but when they enter the lobby for the first time, they’ll be greeted by a modernized version of their Bobcat logo. And if ever they need a little academic inspiration, they can pay a visit to the bronze bobcat statue perched in the main hall, which patrons commissioned from a local artist to serve as a reminder of the Butler’s 139-year history. “Our hope is that students can touch the Bobcat in passing as a reminder to work for good grades,” said Debbie Tyler, a member of the “Friends of Butler Elementary” committee that raised $9,500 to pay for the sculpture.

Students, their families and members of the community are invited to a sneak preview of the new Butler Elementary — and its new logo and statue — at a ribbon-cutting ceremony and Open House on Thursday, Aug. 18. A reception starts at 5:30 p.m., and the ceremony will begin promptly at 6 p.m. 

First established in 1877, Butler Elementary has “a wonderful history and loyal following” of community members who are eager to see the inside of the new facility, which they’ve watched take shape over the past year, Tyler says. The rebuild was completed with proceeds from a $250 million bond that voters approved in June 2010.

Of the building’s features, most remarkable of all are its uninterrupted, 360-degree views of the mountain-rimmed Salt Lake Valley. West-facing classrooms look out upon the Oquirrh range, and east-facing rooms offer a close-up of the Wasatch. Look north and it’s possible to spot Mount Olympus. Gaze south and see just past the Point of the Mountain. 

So it’s fitting that this latest addition to the Canyons District be themed around world-famous canyons. Each learning suite is designated by a color to correspond with renowned hikes in Utah (Buckskin Gulch), California (Kings Canyon), Hawaii (Waimea Canyon), Alaska (Keystone Canyon), Arizona (Antelope Canyon) and Texas (Palo Duro). “It helps with wayfinding. This way any child, no matter what age, can identify with the different areas of the building,” explains Alex Booth, one of the architects at VCBO. 

The building, with its jutting stairwells that lead to a balcony overlooking the school’s cafeteria was designed to leave students with that top-of-the-world feeling — and artist David Jackson hopes his statue does much the same. “I want kids to be able to walk around it and touch it so that they can relate to it and it becomes a special, cool thing at the school. It should be a way to help develop school pride; I envision kids taking pictures by it or even holding classroom discussions around it.”

Jackson has been working as a professional artist for more than 40 years. Known for his accurate depictions of wildlife and western landscapes, the Ogden native is often called upon to produce sculptures for colleges and universities. But he says the Butler project has special meaning for him. “I taught high school art for 27 years at Bonneville High in South Ogden,” he says. “And I used to do a lot of artist-in-residence work with elementary-age kids.”

Jackson’s interest in art began at a young age, and he says his parents recognized his talent and encouraged it. “That’s what good teachers do, whether they’re teaching art, English or math. They recognize kids who have a passion or a talent and look for ways to reinforce them.”

Perhaps the bobcat will inspire students to follow their passion. “I would say if something brings you joy,” says Jackson, “then pursue it, and practice, practice, practice.”

DID YOU KNOW?

·      Butler Elementary was first established in 1877

·      With its rock base, the life-sized bronze bobcat weighs well over 500 pounds

·      Since its inception in 2009, Canyons District has completed an average of two construction projects each year.



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Wednesday, 13 November 2013 00:00

Mount Jordan Artist Renderings Available

While colors and other finishing details remain in the works, artist renderings of the new Mount Jordan Middle School have been made available for public view. The renderings were created by MHTN Architects, the architectural firm selected by the Board of Education to design the school following a competitive bid process. Hogan and Associates Construction will oversee the building's construction.

The new Mount Jordan Middle is made possible by a $250 million bond approved by voters in 2010. The new school will have a state-of-the-art auditorium; a 180-seat lecture hall; hallways and classrooms filled with natural light; an expanded cafeteria and spacious commons area; a gymnasium with two full courts, 14 basketball hoops, large locker rooms, fitness rooms dedicated to dance and strength training, and an elevated indoor running track with a special surface for running; and a performing arts suite for choir and band practices.

Students and staff temporarily have relocated to the former Crescent View Middle, 11150 S. 300 East, while their new school is under construction. The new school is scheduled to open in fall 2015.
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  • The back-to-school season this year will be particularly exciting for students at Corner Canyon High and Butler and Draper Park middle schools. Along with the usual newness of the first day of school — new teachers, new lockers, new textbooks, new friends — they will have something else to look forward to: new schools.

    Canyons District is celebrating the opening of these schools with ribbon-cutting celebrations. The public is invited to the following events:
    Each school has cutting-edge amenities and technology to give students the best opportunities in building a college- and career-ready education. Corner Canyon, 12943 S. 700 East, the first public secondary school to be built in Draper, boasts state-of-the art science labs, a 3,300-seat capacity gym that meets NCAA standards, and a 120-seat lecture hall.

    Draper Park Middle, 13133 S. 1300 East, which is also making history as the first public middle school in Draper, has three academic wings that house high-tech classrooms, a fully integrated media center with a TV production studio and a 700-seat auditorium, to name a few of the school’s exciting features.

    Butler Middle, 7530 S. 2700 East, has a gymnasium with an elevated indoor running track and fitness rooms dedicated to dance and strength training, a 1,000-seat auditorium theater made possible, in part, by a financial contribution from Cottonwood Heights , and an expanded cafeteria and spacious commons area.

    Wednesday, 19 June 2013 16:36

    Tuesday, June 18, 2013

    Teacher Pay Raises Part of Approved 2013-2014 Budget

    The Board of Education unanimously approved the final 2012-2013 budget and the 2013-2014 budget, which includes funding of steps and lanes for certified employees and steps for administrative employees, and a 0.5 percent cost of living adjustment for licensed and administrative employees. Licensed employees also will see a decrease in insurance premiums.

    The $223.3 million general budget includes a 9 percent Utah Retirement Systems contribution increase; $1 million for under-mileage bus routes, with an additional $300,000 approved by the Board to cover all current under-mileage routes; two new secondary achievement coaches, and the expansion of the AVID program at Mount Jordan Middle School. The $50 million capital budget includes small capital projects, including upgrades to Jordan and Alta high schools and lighting upgrades in seven elementaries, as well as information technology projects and equipment and districtwide building repairs and site work.

    The District's assessed valuation has increased by 4.3 percent, marking the first increase in District history. Tax rates in the budget will reflect the Certified Tax Rate calculated by the State Tax Commission and the State Basic Rate as determined by the Utah State Office of Education.

    Business Administrator and Chief Financial Officer Keith Bradford recommends selling up to $60 million of the $250 million in bonds approved by voters in 2010 to take advantage of low interest rates. He expects to present a resolution to the board at its Aug. 6 meeting. The $36 million Mount Jordan Middle School rebuild, funded as part of the voter-approved bond, will begin this summer.

    Patron Steve Van Maren asked clarifying questions about inflation and capital spending. He said he hoped the Board would approve the budget – as long as it doesn't raise his taxes.

    The compensation increases for certified employees follow the Board-approved negotiated agreement, which was in the ratification process with the Canyons Education Association. Contract negotiations with the Canyons Education Support Professionals Association are ongoing.

    Crescent View Name Changed to Draper Park Middle School

    A new middle school that is being built in Draper as a replacement for Crescent View Middle will be renamed to honor the area in which it's being built and preserve the nature of the historic Sandy area where CVMS has operated since 1986. The Board voted to rename the school Draper Park Middle School — a name suggested by the Crescent View School Community Council.

    The Board had asked the SCC to discuss the possibility of a new moniker because the school's new site, at 13133 S. 1300 East, is outside the historic Crescent area, located in the southwest corner of Sandy. At a May 30 meeting, the SCC voted unanimously to urge the Board to change the school's name, and forwarded the names Draper Park, Canyon Creek and Canyon Hollow as possibilities.

    Board member Robert Green said the new name hearkens to Draper's history. The city's Draper Park School, which was built in 1912 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was named in honor of John R. Park, a prominent educator in the late 1800s who also taught school in Draper. Board member Tracy Scott Cowdell said the old Crescent View, 11150 S. 300 East, which will be used for the next few years as temporary housing for students whose schools are being rebuilt, should retain the name that ties it to its community.

    The Board last March voted to rebuild Crescent View at the Draper location to move it closer to the majority of the students who will live within its new boundaries for the 2013-2014 school year.

    Superintendent Search Timeline Established

    The Board established an estimated timeline for the search to replace Superintendent Dave Doty, who has resigned to lead a national education-reform consulting firm. The timeline for the Canyons superintendent search begins in July with a request-for-proposal solicitation from consultants experienced in conducting national superintendent searches. According to the plan, the search consultant will be named in September, and a process to gather public input on the qualities and characteristics desired in a new superintendent will be identified, scheduled and advertised. Meetings with stakeholders, such as parents, patrons, students and employees, will be held throughout October, and information culled from this input-gathering phase, including comments received via an online tool on the District's Web site, will influence a job posting scheduled to be published at the outset of 2014. The timeline then asks the consultant to initiate calls to prospective candidates, review applications, conduct appropriate background checks, and forward the names of finalists to the Board for interviews. The schedule calls for the successful candidate will be appointed and announced by the Board of Education at its first meeting in March.

    Grade Reconfiguration Preparations Ramp Up

    Chief Academic Officer Ginger Rhode and District administrators presented information to the Board about their work since 2009 to ensure grade reconfiguration is implemented smoothly this fall. The Board in February 2010 approved the movement of ninth grade into high schools and sixth grade into middle schools to improve student academic opportunities and supports as part of a college- and career-ready academic plan. The presentation included implementation efforts specific to academics and teacher professional development, human resources, student preferred walking routes, transportation, purchasing, online registration, student orientations, and public communications.

    To view or listen to the presentation, please visit Canyons BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 2D.

    United Way Outlines Partnership Proposal

    The Board received a report from United Way of Salt Lake President and CEO Deborah Bayle and Senior Vice President of Community Impact and Public Policy Bill Crim regarding a potential partnership to serve the students of Midvale City. United Way similarly is working with communities in three school districts. Two local businesses – Savage Corp. and Gardner Co. – desire to direct resources to a collective partnership, which would include a common agenda, shared accountability, and continual communication, Bayle said. The partnership would address issues associated with child hunger, poverty and health and remove barriers to academic success for disadvantaged children. Board Member and Midvale representative Robert Green expressed support for the effort. Superintendent David Doty said the Administration has been working with Midvale Mayor Joann Seghini and is supportive of the concept.

    Board Action

    The Board approved the 2013-2014 negotiated agreement with the Canyons Education Association and the Administrative Compensation Package.
    The Board approved an additional $300,000 to ensure all current hazardous bus routes are funded. It also will form a committee to study cities' roles in addressing issues along student walking routes, including crosswalks and sidewalks.

    The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which includes the June 4 Minutes; Purchasing Bids; Board Hires and Terminations; May Financial Reports; Corner Canyon High's Bell Schedule; policy changes;and the Home School Affidavit. The Board also approved Student overnight travel for Alta Baseball, Boys Basketball, Boys and Girls Cross Country, Drill, Theater, Volleyball, and Wrestling; Brighton Art and Volleyball; and Jordan Girls Tennis.

    The Board approved the benefit eligibility policy for administrators and for licensed employees. Board Member Kim Horiuchi said she was appreciative of the grandfather clause to protect current employees, and noted surrounding school districts' decisionto not follow a similar path has resulted in consternation among employees. She said the Board needs to examine how proposed policy may affect Education Support Professionals. Cowdell said he fears benefit policy changes may affect Canyons ability to hire good people in the future. The proposal was brought to the Board for two reasons: 1) the enactment of the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act, which mandates employees working 30 hours or more per week for more than 30 consecutive calendar days must be offered health insurance with affordable premiums; and 2) changes in the Utah State Retirement & Benefit Insurance Act. To listen to the discussion, please visit Canyons BoardDocs and click Agenda Item 9B.

    The Board received an update about e-mail management efforts.

    Board Recognitions

    The Board recognized the following students and employees for their achievements:

    Sally Sansom, East Midvale Principal, Utah Association of Elementary School Principals' Utah Community Leader of the Year

    Utah PTA Golden Apple Winners:
    Bill Mattingly, Alta High Director of Instrumental Music, Outstanding Educator
    McKay Robinson, Lone Peak Elementary Principal, Outstanding School Administrator
    Linda Duffin, Alta High, Outstanding Volunteer

    Debbie Beninati, Lone Peak Elementary volunteer, Huntsman Award for Excellence in Education

    Brighton Boys Tennis
    5A state singles champion Chase Stoner, and doubles champions Anthony Panuzio and Mitchell Mansell and Brandon Budge and Cheyenne Perry.

    College-Sponsored National Merit Scholarships winners Jacob Brown, Micah Johnston, Caius Worthen, Jarom Norris, Cory Goates, John Morrell and Warren Jensen of Hillcrest High and Macy Crockett of Alta High

    Jessica Smith, Congressional Award Winner, Third Congressional District, 41st Annual All-State High School Art Show, sponsored by the Springville Art Museum

    Patron Comments

    Draper Mayor Darrell Smith urged the Board to consider renaming Crescent View Middle School when it's rebuilt in Draper. He said he was impressed with the discourse at the SCC meeting during which new names were discussed. He urged the Board to rename the school to reflect the area in which it resides. He said he preferred Draper Park Middle School.

    Gary Martensen, President of the Canyons Education Support Professionals Association, said the association was ready to declare impasse, but the group is willing to accept the invitation to return to the negotiating table.

    Scott Lloyd, chairman of the School Community Council at Crescent View Middle School, thanked the Board for soliciting community input on the possible renaming of the new CVMS, which is being rebuilt in Draper. He pointed out that Crescent View is a specific place in Sandy and the school no longer is there. He urged the Board to rename the school to reflect the new city home and preserve the historic integrity of the area of Sandy known as Crescent.

    Kathryn Myers, and a member of the Crescent View SCC, thanked the Board for relocating Crescent View in the new location, closer to enrollment growth. She is appreciative of the new design of the building, which is more conducive to learning. She said changing the name is fine, and that parents are thrilled with the new school.

    Jen Butters Jacobs, CEA representative, said she was pleased to announce that the CEA has had a successful negotiation. She said it looks like the membership will accept the package. She also thanked Dr. Doty for his years of service, and noted the collaborative relationship the union had with the Board and Administration.

    Superintendent's Report

    Superintendent Doty noted that this is his final Board meeting, and expressed appreciation to the Board. He urged the Board to give its unequivocal support to Interim Superintendent Ginger Rhode as the District implements the Board's goals in the coming year.

    Board Reports

    Robert Green said he wished he could have attended the Open House for Dr. Doty. He recalled the time he met Dr. Doty, and his enthusiasm for education and his ability to speak fluent Spanish, which greatly impacted the families of Midvale. He thanked Dr. Doty for his service, and said he hopes to have the chance to work with him again.

    Horiuchi thanked Dr. Doty for his leadership over the past five years. She said Dr. Doty's work exceeded her dreams for what the District could become. She expressed deep gratitude for Dr. Doty's work and dedication to students, and said Canyons is the best school district in the state, if not the nation, because he and the staff have been willing to look at things differently and implement change.

    Second Vice President Nancy Tingey thanked the administration and staff for their service to the district, and noted this is an exciting time for Canyons. She thanked Dr. Doty for his leadership, and the educators and employees who worked to help the District reach its goals. She said she is proud of the
    District's accomplishments, and looks forward to great things to come.

    Vice President Steve Wrigley thanked Dr. Doty for his work and wished him well in his new career. He thanked the staff for their work, and said he looks forward to the next academic year.

    Cowdell noted the District needs to start weaning the cities from the District-funded hazardous bus routes and help cities become more focused on their responsibility to ensure safe student passage to school. He commended the budget. He thanked Dr. Doty for his service, wished him well and congratulated him on his new career. He said he often reflects and marvels at the accomplishments of the District, and said they are nothing short of remarkable. He said he is reading a book about George Washington, and noted great leaders are able to identify and attract talent to support their vision. He said he feels good about the District's direction, and hopes to continue to create culture and a place where people want to be.

    President Sherril Taylor commended the staff and patrons for staying late into the night for Board meeting. He said he too marvels at the District's success in a short period of time, calling the movement nothing short of miraculous. He thanked Dr. Doty for his leadership and wished him well in his new career. He said Canyons has great people, and that he appreciates the teachers and support staff for the work that they do.

    Closed Session

    The Board met in Closed Session for the purpose of discussing collective bargaining; the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of an individual; and the purchase, exchange or lease of real property.
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