Board Meeting Report - December 5, 2023
The Board of Education of Salt Lake City School District (the Board) held its latest meeting on Tuesday, December 5, 2023. The meeting was recorded and is available on the district’s YouTube channel.
The Board held a public hearing, allowing members of the public to provide feedback about the possible closure of district elementary schools and potential boundary changes for elementary schools that remain open. Receiving input from our community is critical and incredibly important to our Board members. Every person who attended the meeting and wanted to speak was given two minutes to speak to the Board. Some of the topics discussed included questions about transitions plan if schools close, requests to make sure that families who rely on school-based services to maintain access to critical resources, plans for property use if schools close, and gratitude to the Board for listening to public input, and a desire to see success for students across the district, regardless of what changes may come. We’re grateful to all who came to speak and to all who have shared their input throughout this process.
Initial Recommendation on School Closures and Boundary Adjustments
Superintendent Grant expressed gratitude for those who participated in the public hearing and stressed that she and district leadership are keenly aware of the magnitude of the boundary study process and its possible impacts on our families and schools. She shared information from a recent report by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, which shows that over the last 10 years, Salt Lake City's population under the age of 18 has declined by 5,000. The school-age population in Salt Lake is the lowest it has been in a century. While the city’s overall population has grown, that growth has been among adults, not children. The report also shows that big cities in neighboring states are facing the same demographic changes. We are working to respond to larger, regional forces and our aim continues to be to provide robust academic opportunities for students across the district, no matter which part of the city they live in.
Dr. Grant reviewed the district’s initial recommendations for school closures and boundary adjustments, which were shared during the last Board meeting on November 20:
- Close four elementary schools – Hawthorne Elementary, M. Lynn Bennion Elementary, Mary W. Jackson Elementary, and Riley Elementary.
- Make boundary adjustments at 14 other elementary schools.
- Move district programs (gifted and talented and dual language immersion) to schools where they can be more easily accessed by all students and into schools that have enough room to accept the programs and help them grow.
- Transition plans will focus on communicating enrollment options and other information early and often. The goal is to create vibrant learning communities that are welcoming to all families and students.
Dr. Grant recognized from comments in the public hearing that there are many rumors in the community regarding the future use of any schools or school property should schools close. She strongly emphasized that no decisions have been made and no plans have been discussed. The district will work with the Board to determine the best use of any closed schools to benefit students and the community.
Board members also thanked the students, families, and community members who had participated in the public hearing. They asked Dr. Grant and district staff to do all they can to answer remaining questions and provide information to the community in a clear and concise manner. Board members want to make sure families are aware of their enrollment options for the coming school year.
- Students may continue to attend the school they are attending this school year if it was their neighborhood boundary school and it remains open.
- Families may continue to use the open enrollment process to attend a district school that is not their neighborhood boundary school.
- District will honor current open enrollment permits if the school remains open.
- If needed, a Special Open Enrollment Period will be available to families whose school may be selected for permanent closure or boundary changes by the Board of Education. The Special Open Enrollment Period will be available from February 5, 2024 – February 19, 2024.
The Board agreed to place the district’s recommendations for school closures and boundary adjustments on the action agenda for the Board meeting on Tuesday, January 9, 2024.