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A bill that would remove the financial incentive for areas with high property values to form new school districts is headed to the governor's desk.
Members of the Utah House voted 39-31 in favor of SB78, which establishes a permanently equalized tax base in the event of a school district split.
Current law maintains an equalized tax base for five years, but House sponsoring Rep. David Lifferth, R-Eagle Mountain, said that puts districts in a position of facing a financial cliff after splitting.
Riverton Republican Rep. Dan McCay spoke in favor of the bill. He said students shouldn't be punished for the political squabbles of school district residents.
"It just makes it so that from now on, when adults have adult problems, like money or buildings, it doesn't punish the kids," McCay said.
The bill narrowly secured the minimum 38 votes necessary to pass after Lifferth initiated a call of the House to compel representatives to vote.
Speaking against the bill, Cottonwood Heights Rep. Marie Poulson suggested there may be unintended consequences by permanently tying the tax bases of two school districts together.
"I am concerned about making this go forever," she said. "I don't know about the consequences that will happen."
The bill received a unanimous vote of the Senate last month.