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Cottonwood Heights

City Between the Canyons

Cottonwood Heights is in a highly unique location. Ready access to medical facilities, fire, police and a vast variety of business establishments, the freeway system, the major ski resorts and only about 15 to 20 minutes away from major events and destinations anywhere in the valley. Most enjoy beautiful views of the mountains to the East and/or overlooking the valley to the North, West and South. In 2007, Money magazine rated Cottonwood Heights at #100 on their Best Places to Live list.

Cottonwood Heights is a city in Salt Lake County, Utah, United States, located along the east bench of the Salt Lake Valley. It lies south of the cities of Holladay and Murray, east of Midvale, and north of Sandy within the Salt Lake City, Utah Metropolitan Statistical Area. Following a successful incorporation referendum in May 2004, the city was inaugurated on January 14, 2005. Cottonwood Heights had been a Census-designated place (CDP) before incorporation. The population of the CDP was 27,569 at the 2000 census.


As of the census of 2000, there were 27,569 people, 9,439 households, and 7,249 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 4,052.9 people per square mile (1,565.4/km²). There were 9,932 housing units at an average density of 1,460.1/sq mi (563.9/km²).

There were 9,439 households out of which 36.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.5% were married couples living together, 9.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.2% were non-families. 16.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.92 and the average family size was 3.31.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 26.4% under the age of 18, 12.6% from 18 to 24, 28.0% from 25 to 44, 25.1% from 45 to 64, and 7.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 101.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.5 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $62,814, and the median income for a family was $70,083 (these figures had risen to $65,463 and $81,715 respectively as of a 2007 estimate). Males had a median income of $43,114 versus $31,046 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $26,935. About 2.8% of families and 3.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.9% of those under age 18 and 0.7% of those age 65 or over.



If you have been following the drama regarding the creation of the new Canyons School District, you are new Canyons School District, you are aware that the arbitration panel issued their award on Wednesday, March 18. After nearly two years of study, hearings, education forums, debate, legislative action, court challenges, negotiations, and arbitration, the Canyons School District is finally in a position to make definitive plans and prepare a budget for its first year of operation. On July 1, 2009, it will become an independent school district, equal to the other forty districts in the state and the first new district to be created in nearly 100 years. Those of us living in Cottonwood Heights, Midvale, Draper, Sandy, Alta, and the areas of unincorporated county scattered among us should take pride in what has been accomplished and can anticipate great innovation in the way our children are educated.
The award grants 41 schools to Canyons District and its 33,000 students.  Most are elementary, junior high, and middle schools that prepare our children to move on to one of four high schools: Brighton, Hillcrest, Jordan, and Alta. All furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF&Es) in the 41 schools and the busses that service each school are also part of the award to the Canyons District. According to Dr. David Doty, Canyons District Superintendent, all of the schools will be fully prepared to receive students as they begin their 2009-2010 school year.
In addition to the school buildings the FF&E’s, the Canyons District also has the existing administration building at 9400 South and 300 East and other buildings that are now being utilized by Jordan School District and are physically located on the east side of the Jordan River. Based on enrollment numbers, Canyons will also receive 41% of the various district funds; and the new Jordan District will receive 59% of funds for reserves, vocational instruction, programs, capital projects, employee health and accident insurance, etc., along with revenue such as property taxes and state and federal allocations. There are also various student and Jordan Education Foundation funds that relate to specific schools that will remain with those schools.
On the other side of the ledger, the bonded indebtedness of the old Jordan District will be divided according to state law with a split of 58%/42% with Canyons responsible for the larger amount based on property valuations.
So, after all this time, who won and who lost in the final arbitration? Both new school districts have issued statements in support of the division. But a careful look at the results suggests both districts lost some arguments and both won other arguments. That’s generally the way compromise decisions go. The Canyons District argued before the arbitration panel that the value of the schools should be considered since the schools that are geographically in the new Jordan District are, on average, at least 20 years newer than the Canyons District schools. This would have resulted in a significant cash payment from the new Jordan District to the Canyons District. The arbitration panel rejected this argument primarily because there was no consensus on the values of the individual school buildings and the property on which they stand.
On the other side of the coin, the new Jordan District argued that there should be a sliding scale established that would make the Canyons District responsible for more and more of the new Jordan District’s indebtedness as the enrollment of the Jordan District continues to grow and the percentages now extant change during the coming years. The arbitration panel also rejected this contention as it would have the Canyons District residents continuing to subsidize the new Jordan District on into the future, beyond the Jordan District’s current indebtedness.
There are other examples of the give and take that the arbitration panel dealt with in attempting to arrive at a fair and equitable decision. Their report states the following in regards to the decisions they made:
“The panel concludes that the overarching standard for determining whether an allocation is ‘fair and equitable’ is that, at a minimum, the day the two new districts assume the responsibilities of the Old JSD (July 1, 2009) they are each capable of performing their core functions – funding the operation of the district and providing for the education of their students and the maintenance and construction of necessary facilities while continuing to pay off bonds of the old district, all without measurably eroding the quality of the education provided when compared to Old JSD” (p35, Arbitration Award).
As residents and taxpayers in the Canyons School District, we can be reassured by Superintendent David Doty, PhD, who stated, “I support the decision because it provides the Canyons School District with financial solvency, the ability to operate independently, and a sound base of resources with which to begin addressing the needs of individual schools within the boundaries of the new district. In short, I do feel that the decision was ‘fair and equitable’ and an appropriate outcome given the language and purposes of the split legislation, as well as the unique circumstances facing both new school districts…” (Between the Lines, March 20, 2009).

Check out everything you need to know about the new Canyons School Distrct at their website:



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