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Jordan Board takes stand against split

The Jordan Board of Education is taking a stand on the effort to split its school district after all.

Tuesday night, the board voted 4-to-3 to adopt a resolution opposing the split. The action reverses another taken in recent weeks to remain neutral on the contentious issue.

"The goal was to get the message out, we're not in favor of the split, please go out and read the information and get well informed so you're making an educated vote," board member Ellen Wallace, who proposed the resolution, said Wednesday. "My concern is, the public is lulled into (thinking the board is saying), 'We don't care, it's OK if we split,' and I did not want that to occur."

Wallace said board members, in a recent meeting with the PTA, were asked where they stood on the east-side's quest to break away from the state's largest school district. She said four board members said they opposed it, two were neutral, and one supported it. She said that's when the light bulb went on.

"We have done our employees and our patrons a disservice because more are really against this, we don't want the split, and it affects such a huge amount of people," Wallace said. "I wanted the public to know where everyone stood on the board, what our true position was on the board."

Wallace, Peggy Jo Kennett, Randy Brinkerhoff and board president J. Dale Christensen voted for the resolution. They questioned how dividing the district would help kids educationally, fearing it instead would hurt programs and result in higher taxes, district spokeswoman Melinda Colton reported.

Board members Kim Horiuchi, Sherril Taylor and Tracy Cowdell voted against it.

"The primary reason is the disparate interests of the district," said Horiuchi, who supports a new east-side district. "It's just very difficult, I think, to balance the needs of a district that stretches 250 square miles and represents 80,000 students and 360,000 patrons. And I think the vote last night ... demonstrates that, that even the board is split on key issues."