"But if it is believed that these elementary schools will be better managed by...any other general authority of the government, than by the parents within each ward [district], it is a belief against all experience." --Thomas Jefferson

Friday, February 4, 2011

Your Voice Counted: Vineyard URA May Be Revisited

Today, the Utah State School Board instructed their URA representative, Larry Newton, to readdress the Vineyard URA.  The concern from the board was the process for the URA.  The board members did state they did not necessarily disagree with Mr. Newton's approval of the URA.  However, most of the board were unaware of the URA.  They felt with a URA of this magnitude, there should have been some oversight from the board.  I, so appreciate, the State Board for recognizing this situation and wanting to mitigate it.  Please let them know of your appreciation. 

Also, there was discussion as to when Mr. Newton was appointed, originally in 1993 and most recently, perhaps in 2001 or 2002.  The state board would like to set some standards as to length of time and dollar amounts for board involvement in these issues, instead of just allowing their representative to act in their behalf.  Then, Mr. Newton's appointment to the URA was reaffirmed.  Some board members mentioned all the emails they had received.  So, thanks to all of you who contacted the state school board.

Our state school board member, Carol Murphy, was especially helpful in turning this into a discussion of Vineyard specifically, and not just a general discussion of their policy on URA's going forward.  Also, fellow board member, Paula Hill, and citizen Jared Carmen, addressed the board on this issue during public comments.  It appears those comments helped sway the board to discuss the specifics on Vineyard later in the day. 

Next step:  In order for the URA to actually be brought back to the table for discussion, there must be a 2/3 majority of the Taxing Entity Committee (TEC).  This means the County Commissioners, and the Misc. Taxing Entity representative will need to be willing to bring this back to the table (as well as ASD).  Please contact the County Commissioners and request they support bringing the URA back for negotiation.  It is important to note Alpine's School Board is not opposed to the URA in principle, but is concerned with the terms right now.  Two independent financial consultants and the Utah Taxpayers Association do not recommend the current scenario.  So please contact all three commissioners, but especially Commissioner Ellertson (801-851-8133 larrye@utah.gov ) and Commissioner Anderson (801-851-8135 garya@utah.gov )--the County's 2 representatives on the TEC.  Commissioner Whitney may be reached at 801-851-8136 or dwhitney@utah.gov

Special thanks to my husband, Scott (who has to spend a lot of time making up work since he was babysitting), Paula's husband (who has accompanied her everywhere), and Joel Wright (for reading legislation and minutes, and writing the first letters). 

But, most especially, thanks to all of you for contacting your representatives and asking to be heard!

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