Please review these frequently asked questions for an answer to your question. After review, if you have further questions or concerns, please reach out to us.
1. What is the Population Analysis Committee, or PAC?
It is a committee made up of approximately 20 people, representing a cross-section of GSD leadership., including PTA and Granite Education Association. The PAC receives and then vets ideas for boundary studies. The director of Planning & Boundaries chairs this committee and makes recommendations to the GSD Board.
2. What is the primary goal of this year’s population analysis study?
There are two studies. Because of overall declining population throughout the district, we will be studying various regions over the next 5-10 years. The two studies that have been approved for this calendar year are as follows:
- Van Winkle/700 East Corridor Study – Potential consolidation of 0-3 elementary campuses along this corridor to help shore up the population in the remaining schools. We have three schools in this region that are sub-300 students.
- Skyline/Olympus/Cottonwood High Network study – Because of changes to Cottonwood’s boundaries over the past several years (including the loss of the Taylorsville portion), in addition to overall population decline in our district, they have gone from 2000 students to around 1600. During reconfiguration several years ago, we intimated that once reconfiguration had been fully implemented, that the District would evaluate this area to ensure that all of these high schools have a robust boundary.
3. Who is leading the Population Analysis study?
Steve Hogan, Director of Planning and Boundaries, who oversees the population analysis committee (PAC) and Ben Horsley, Chief of Staff, are leading the study.
4. What is the timeline?
It is a calendar year study with final decisions made in November/December. The timeline and process specifics are guided by state law and board policy. No boundary proposals have been developed at this point in the study. Specific proposals will be presented by early fall.
5. How are the state’s open enrollment law and special permit applications, that begin in November/December, being considered?
Any changes approved by the board to boundaries generally take place the following Fall. Any decision made by December 2022 would implement changes Fall of 2023. However, that will be up to the board based on PAC recommendations. The process is such that there is plenty of time for open enrollment permits to be filed after a final decision is made in November/December (between 6-8 weeks).
We are very cognizant of open enrollment and election timelines. We have utilized this process for many years and many previous studies. Both Steve and Ben have extensive experience in adhering to state law and board policy.
Based on current timelines, the soonest any change could occur (if any changes are even made), would be the Fall of 2023. Additionally, with open enrollment laws and plenty of capacity in our schools in this region, parents will already have ample ability to exercise school choice.
6. How do open enrollment laws impact the population analysis study?
Utah is an Open Enrollment state. This means that students may attend any public school of their choice, as long as the school has the capacity, and the student is willing to provide their own transportation. Therefore, even when boundary changes are made, many students can and will decide to choose a school other than the one within boundaries.
This means that the full impact of any boundary adjustments are not generally felt until several years after the change has been made.
7. How many student special permit in and out of Granite School District?
Granite School District Special Permits by School Year
|School Year||Students Permitting INTO Granite||Students Permitting OUT OF Granite||Net|
|2004-2005||Not Available||Not Available|
|2005-2006||Not Available||Not Available|
Special Permits of Nearby School Districts
|Year||Number IN||Number OUT||Net|
|Canyons School District|
|Jordan School District|
|Murray School District|
|Salt Lake City School District|
Granite Residents Attending Charter Schools
|Charter School GSD Resident is Attending||Grades K-5||Grades 6-8||Grades 9-12||Total|
|Academy for Math, Engineering & Science||-||-||256||256|
|American Preparatory Academy||1,033||595||470||2,098|
|Canyon Rim Academy||459||-||-||459|
|Dual Immersion Academy||104||42||-||146|
|Early Light Academy at Daybreak||18||8||-||26|
|East Hollywood High||-||-||198||198|
|Real Salt Lake Academy High School||-||-||66||66|
|Utah Connections Academy||68||68||71||207|
|Wallace Stegner Academy||495||184||-||679|
|Wasatch Waldorf Charter School||191||107||-||298|
|Total with Additional 53 Charter Schools Residents Attend||5,418||2,419||2,229||10,066|
8. Some patrons recognize the power of a program like the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Skyline to attract students. Can an IB program be moved to a different school as a means to attract students?
IB is a school-based program funded at the school level. Therefore, Granite District does not consider moving the IB program as a viable option. IB could be created and started at other school locations depending on the desires of the school and community.
9. Who is Davis Demographics and why is their work cited in these studies?
Davis Demographics is a K-12 Demographer that specializes in providing consulting services for school districts that want independent, third party data to help drive school enrollment projection decisions. GSD contracted with Davis Demographics a couple years ago. The results of their study confirmed what GSD has been documenting for many years now; that we are a district with a shrinking enrollment.
10. What happens to students enrolled in special programs such as Dual Language Immersion (DLI) and Advanced Learning Centers (ALC)?
If a school that currently has a special program is closed, the district works to adjust the program to another reasonable location and/or works otherwise to accommodate the students.
11. Small School Concerns
Granite School District considers a school “small” when there are less than an average of three teachers per grade level. Some of the challenges we have documented over the years in these small schools include, but are not limited to:
- Split grade-level classrooms
- Lack of parental choice to increase student success
- Proven methods of collaboration are much less effective or even non-existent
- Reduced per-pupil funding impacts the ability to provide extra staffing and program supports
- Harder to maintain effective school community councils, PTA’s and other parent volunteer groups
- Teacher work-load concerns – fewer teachers and staff to fill the same number of committee assignments required for all schools
12. Is the Academy for Math, Engineering & Science (AMES) part of Cottonwood High School?
AMES is an independent charter school unaffiliated with Granite School District and Cottonwood High. Many AMES students do take 1-2 classes at Cottonwood, but they are not counted as part of the total enrollment.
13. If the Board decides to close a school, what does the district do with the property?
Granite School District is generally disinclined to sell property. In instances when the facility is too old to be used or maintained, buildings could be razed, and the property maintained as a park by the city or county while the district retains ownership. In the event the board does decide to surplus a property, the local city or municipality has first rights of refusal to the property by state law.
14. What are the main factors when considering a boundary change or closure?
They include, but are not limited to:
- Student opportunities for success
- Enrollment and programming
- Contiguous boundaries
- Transportation issues
- Safe Walking Routes
- Feeder Patterns
- Fiscal considerations
- Long-term impact on communities
15. Are solutions other than boundary changes being considered?
Yes. Additional programming and marketing opportunities are currently under consideration at low enrollment schools.
16. Patrons have asked: “Can Granite School District annex Murray School District?”
No. State law requires both districts to initiate district consolidations or changes. And neither Granite nor Murray have shown interest in this idea. Murray District in particular has little incentive to consolidate as they have a broad business tax base with a smaller residential component that invariably provide a robust property tax base in which to fund their schools. This would be diminished significantly if they were to consolidate with Granite District. The benefits of “economies of scale” that Granite enjoys are not likely incentive enough as their students already have access to all levels of programming (including the GTI) within our district through open enrollment laws.
17. Questions on diversity and/or white flight
Many individuals in these respective communities have requested that we work to diversify school populations by adjusting boundaries based on socio economic status (SES or poverty) and/or ethnic makeup. The PAC and District are primarily concerned with ensuring that ALL students have equitable access and opportunities to a comprehensive educational experience. Boundary adjustments are not the only method of achieving this goal. The PAC and District will evaluate any and all avenues that will ensure this access for our students (not limited to boundary adjustments).
18. Why are we not looking at all eight high school networks at the same time?
As a district we are already pursuing regional studies throughout the district, over the next 5-7 years. In the past, the district has transported students (at significant cost and great distance) to help offset low enrollment schools. As we have moved out of a high growth era, we are no longer comfortable doing so. We transitioned Taylorsville students back to their community school several years ago with the philosophy that this was in the best interest of our students and families and that transporting students across the district is not a good educational practice.
19. Is the District taking into consideration areas of new residential development?
Yes. The Planning and Boundaries department monitors new residential development on a regular basis.
20. Why is Granite School District’s enrollment declining, and is this decline unique to Granite School District?
Declining enrollment is an issue not just for Granite School District but throughout many parts of the country. In Utah we are being affected especially hard along the East Bench of the Wasatch Front. This has even been noted in several recent news articles. Salt Lake Tribune Article, May 2022
The reasons for the decline are a combination of declining birth rates, a maturing population (particularly on our east side), student mobility, and the increase in charter school enrollment, among other factors.
Next Steps: Attend Fall Open Houses
PAC will continue to review/study feedback and make initial recommendations to the board in June. Patrons are invited to attend fall open houses. Dates are TBD and more information will be forthcoming.