SALT LAKE CITY - The Granite School District says some of its schools are no longer fit for teaching or keeping students safe. The district is proposing a $238 million dollar bond to rebuild 13 schools and renovate 17 more.
“There’s no good time to raise taxes,” said Ben Horsley, Granite School District Spokesperson. “The school board has put a lot of time on this, and this provides funding mechanism for the long term so we can rebuild and renovate all of our schools over the next 40 years.”
Skyline High School is being offered as Exhibit A for why the bond is needed. The school was built in 1962, and is currently unable to withstand a strong earthquake.
“The school poses a significant risk to anyone inside when the earthquake strikes,” said Jerod Johnson, a structural engineer for Reavely Engineers. “It’s critical that we just don’t save their lives but we have schools safe enough to reoccupy.”
The roof in Skyline’s gym leaks when it is raining, and the school’s heating and cooling system does not work properly.
“We are making do,” said Doug Bingham, Skyline High Principal. “We are always struggling to keep the kids warm or cool depending on the season.”
Skyline’s classrooms also only have two electric outlets, which makes it difficult to let students use computers.
Skyline Student Body President Rachael Garff says the students would benefit by being able to use newer technology. “Our teachers our fabulous,” said Garff, “but we could learn in different ways and could learn quicker and better if we had that extra boost of electronic devices.”
Heather Knighton’s children will eventually go to Skyline High School, but she is hoping the bond passes before they are old enough to attend.
“If we are serious as a society we need our children to be competitive,” said Knighton. “It’s important that they are given the right facilities and the right tools.”
Skyline also has several entries that pose a security concern if anything were to happen. “It’s a shame we have better security in our homes than in our schools; our children are here all day,” added Knighton.
If the bond passes, a homeowner with a $250,000 home would pay about $15 more per month, an additional $184 annually. The bond will be decided by voters at the November 7 election. More information about the bond can be found at www.parentsforgranite.org or http://www.gsdfuture.org.