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Riverton parents OK uniforms
Rosamond is first in Jordan to adopt policy

Rosamond Elementary has become the first school in the Jordan District to move forward with a school uniform policy.

Two-thirds of ballots cast favored school uniforms; 31 percent were against the policy, and 3 percent were undecided, said Becky Munger, member of the school community group who helped spearhead the uniform push to help boost academic performance. Of some 700 families at the Riverton school, 240 cast ballots."I'm very happy," Munger said Thursday. "There were some people who were very unkind, and it's exhausting. But I'm pleased people had a chance to have their voices heard. I think this is a positive step."

Voters also approved uniform colors khaki, white, burgandy and navy, which students can mix and match in certain styles of jumpers, skirts and dress shorts and pants, blouses, cardigans and polo shirts. The uniforms will be implemented in the coming school year, but families may choose to opt out. Parents will receive flyers on details.

Meanwhile, the state's largest school district is proposing guidelines for schools looking into uniforms to ensure an educated public and successful implementation.

"This is a big enough issue that we want success. If we (establish) guidelines, maybe it will give school community groups a guideline on how to be successful," said Jane Callister, president of the Jordan Board of Education.

Proposed guidelines, which the board will discuss June 29, include community initiation, holding three, well-publicized meetings on the issue, anonymous voting including absentee ballots, giving school community groups final say, and ensuring a majority vote.

State law does not clearly define if a majority is of ballots cast or families in the school, regardless of whether they vote. Callister says school community groups could decide which would work best to ensure policy success.

Davis School District guidelines require a majority vote for a voluntary uniform policy; mandatory policies requrire 66 percent voter approval. Granite School District requires 66 percent voter approval.

But a uniform committee at Lone Peak Elementary School, whose voting was halted midstream following ballot tracking complaints, says Jordan's guidelines come a little too late.

The Sandy school's community vote on a uniform dress policy was halted by the district following complaints that ballots had tracking numbers and phone calls made to those not voting.

But the committee, examining school uniforms as a simple way to ensure a safer learning environment in light of the shootings in Littleton, Colo., had been told by the district they needed 80 percent of the community vote, plus a two-thirds majority of ballots cast, to pass the policy, said uniform committee member Betty Pizac. The committee was not peeking over shoulders, but tracking ballots to get out the vote.

"We played by their rules, and they stopped the procedure," Pizac said. "I'm disappointed at the way they handled it."

Callister said Lone Peak parents complained the process was pushed through rapidly and was not anonymous.

"I'm not faulting (the uniform committee) at all . . . but there are those people who want to protect their individual privacy and they don't do something with a number on it," Callister said. "I really think this fall when the vote goes out, the patrons will vote for it."

Indeed, the end, 66 percent of Lone Peak families voted, and 74 percent of them favored school uniforms. But a principal's letter to the community noted that majority did not live up to the supermajority they were going for, and set up another vote in the fall.

Pizac says the school had more ballots cast than in some presidential elections, and the majority is ample to move forward. She is so frustrated she hasn't decided whether to reinvest her campaign energies.

"If the school district throws up these many roadblocks, do you keep trying? I haven't decided."