SUNSET, Utah (ABC4) — The election is just days away, and in Davis County, residents will have a $475-million school bond on their ballot. The Davis School district says if passed, the bond will not increase current tax rates in the county. It will pay for improvements at schools across the county as well as the rebuilding of two existing schools.
Sunset Jr. High is one of the two schools that will be rebuilt.
“It’s just too old, and it’s not good for my education or anybody else’s,” Claire Davis told ABC4. Davis is a 7th grader at Sunset Jr. High. She said she loves school, the friends she’s made and her teachers. However, she explained that the school isn’t adequately cooled or heated.
“It’s horrible because I find myself thinking more about the heat and the cold, like, how hot am I going to be today in so-and-so class instead of actually focusing on what I should be doing,” Davis stated.
The school was built in 1964. Today, while walking around the exterior of the school, one will see that many windows are rusted through. With that, it’s easy to imagine just how hot or cold the building could get during extreme weather.
According to the district, Bountiful Elementary is facing similar issues with temperature regulation. It is the other school set to be rebuilt if the bond passes.
Like Sunset Jr. High, Bountiful Elementary was built more than half a century ago. Along with heating and cooling issues, both schools have outdated technology and are too small for the current student population.
For instance, Sunset Jr. High now has close to 1,000 students. During group work, students often move to the hall to complete their assignments. Davis told ABC4 that this creates its own problems. She explained that they have to be as quiet as possible while in the hall, which makes collaborating with others difficult. Not only that, but she said it is easy to get distracted by all the activity that naturally takes place in a hallway.
“It’s not easy, the way we have it set up now,” said Tami Oliver, the principal at Sunset Jr. High. She was also a teacher at the school for 23 years and understands the teachers’ frustrations.
One of those frustrations is the lack of electrical outlets in the school. She told ABC4 that most classrooms only have two electrical outlets. “Teachers don’t use technology every day, all day long,” she added. Nonetheless, when they do use technology, they have to work around the lack of outlets.
Students face the same issue. They use tablets on a regular basis. Claire Davis said the lack of outlets often makes learning hard. If a student’s tablet needs to be plugged in, he or she must move to a corner of the room to plug it in. She said not only does this make it hard to see or hear what the teacher is doing. Not only that, but she said if other students need to plug in their devices, they crowd around the outlet hoping for a turn.
This is one of the problems Oliver would love to solve for her staff and students.
She added: “So they don’t have to go looking, so we don’t have cords strung across the room. You know, surge protectors to get power where they need it.”
“I mean, the school’s great. It’s all fun, but with everything being so old it’s hard to get around, it’s hard to learn, it’s just not that educational of a place,” Claire Davis stated.
If passed, the bond will also pay for the construction of two brand new schools in the western portion of the county where the school district is seeing rapid growth.