Ogden school officials to discuss 'next steps' after bond proposal's defeat

Wednesday , January 03, 2018 - 9:29 AM

TIM VANDENACK, Standard-Examiner Staff

OGDEN — The debate over the future of Ogden’s schools — the focus of a failed bond initiative in voting last November — is returning to school officials’ agenda.

The Ogden School District Board of Education meets for a work session Wednesday, Jan. 3, to discuss capital projects, that is, big-ticket initiatives — like new schools — that usually require more than routine approval. The meeting starts at 5 p.m. and will be held in the school board board room at district headquarters, 1950 Monroe Blvd.

The agenda doesn’t offer specifics while Jeff Heiner, president of the school board, said the aim of the gathering is “to consider and review options. It’s the beginning stages of next steps.”

Being a work session, school officials will discuss and debate, but won’t likely make any decisions.

The Ogden School District proposal last year called for $106.5 million in bonding to rebuild three elementary schools, revamp the Ben Lomond High School gym and construct two junior high school learning centers. Voters narrowly defeated it by a 51-49 margin, with the proposal to rebuild Polk Elementary — one of the three schools that would have been rebuilt — drawing particular opposition.

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Since then, school officials have been guarded in discussing what comes next. There’s been talk of pursuing reconstruction of just one school, thus skirting the need for a bond vote because of the lower price tag, but not much more debate, at least publicly.

Still, there has been movement, according to Heiner, responding to queries about Wednesday’s planned meeting.

Since the election, he said the district’s Capital Facilities Committee has met to review building needs, enrollment and other issues. School officials have also met with representatives from Ogden Education, the grassroots group that spearheaded the vote against the bond.

RELATED: Ogden's East Bench voters doomed $106.5 million school bond proposal

“They wanted to discuss what options look like moving forward,” Heiner said. “We suggested that we should work together and move forward. I believe everyone was in agreement.”

The concerns about Polk centered on destroying what bond foes viewed as a historic landmark and the notion of making the school larger, threatening the small, personal feel of the facility. Some of the bond critics also charged that the bond hadn’t been fully fleshed out.

Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at tvandenack@standard.net, follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/timvandenackreporter.

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