The West Jordan City Council decided last night it will not look into separating from the Jordan School District. But some members of the council, including the mayor say without investigating all the options, West Jordan residents could end up paying higher taxes.
It’s clear from Wednesday’s council meeting that leaving the Jordan School District is not a popular option for West Jordan residents or council members. During the meeting several school teachers expressed concern with a district split, recalling the financial hardships that followed when Canyons split from Jordan School District back in 2007.
Mayor Kim Rolfe says if South Jordan residents vote to split from the district, which officials announced they might do in an effort to hold on to their tax base, West Jordan will be an island on the north end of the school district disconnected from cities south of the district. He says this could cause taxes to go up and education funding to go down.
“Many of the council were anxious to leave all options open and available for the residents to decide which direction they wanted,” Rolfe says. “There happened to be three members that don’t agree with that.”
After voting down four separate motions, the council decided against conducting a more than $41,000 feasibility study to weigh the outcome of a split from the district.
Mayor Rolfe says he favored the study. West Jordan City Councilor Justin Stoker did not.
“I think that sends the wrong message out to the public and to South Jordan,” Stoker says. “I think it encourages them. So we’re basically telling people there is not enough support amongst the West Jordan City Council to commission a study. We’re going to continue to work to keep the school district together.”
The South Jordan City Council may decide in early August to place the question of a split on the November ballot. Stoker says he hopes that doesn’t happen. But if it does, West Jordan may have to convene an emergency meeting to decide at the 11th hour how the city should proceed.
The deadline for putting a measure on the November ballot is August 6th.