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Bill advances to make school district splits tougher

Published February 27, 2014 9:02 pm

Equal • Seeks splits where one district is far richer, and one is poorer.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Splitting from an existing school district could become tougher under a bill endorsed Thursday by the Utah House.

The House voted 56-14 to approve HB84, and sent it to the Senate.

Rep. Craig Hall, R-West Valley City, said it is designed to prevent city councils from creating their own school districts in ways that "cherry pick" better-than-average tax base from an existing district.

It prohibits splits where a new district would have revenues over costs projected to be 5 percent higher than the other district over five years.

He said state law already makes the same requirement for the creation of new cities, and he is trying to apply it to school districts to prevent splits creating one rich and one poor district. The bill withstood several attempts to weaken it by amendment.

"It protects taxpayers. It protects children," Hall said.

Hall said it prevents only city councils from creating such "cherry picking" districts, but still allows citizens to create districts through petition to put initiatives on ballots.

It comes after grumbling that the east-side Canyons School District took much of the best tax base in a 2009 split from Jordan School District.

Also, wealthy South Jordan currently is considering splitting from the Jordan School District, and has been lobbying against the bill.




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