SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) – The Salt Lake City School District is speaking out about the potential impact the Inland Port could have on learning.
The district says it was blindsided by the takeover of the land that lies within its boundaries. They aren’t opposed to it, but they want to make sure their voice is heard.
Students at Meadowlark Elementary don’t seem to have a care in the world as they hit the playground for recess.
But, something is weighing heavy on the mind of their principal Heidi Greene.
“A negative impact on our school,” she said.
She’s referring to the Inland Port. You can see the eastern boundary from the playground, just on the other side of I-215.
She’s worried about an increase in traffic, noise pollution, and air quality.
“When the air quality is poor it actually brings on asthma. And, so for our students, when they may not have any insurance, it is a hardship for their parents to take them to clinics and get off work to help them,” Greene said.
The district is also raising concerns. Officials say they stand to lose big in potential funds from property taxes.
“Over the next 25 years, that number could go as high as $500 million in potential revenue loss to our school district. The Inland Port will boost the economy here in the state. That will bring a lot more families to the area, which means we’ll have a lot more children in the schools. We want to be able to have the resources to provide the best education for those kids,” said spokesperson Yandary Chatwin.
As a Title One school, Meadowlark serves an at-risk population. Greene says missing out on funding would be a setback for crucial curriculum like STEM, visual arts and mental health.
“Some of our kids have had some adverse childhood experiences, and need help being able to work through their anger and handle things in a productive way,” said Greene.
The district says talks with the Inland Port Board have been productive, but they say right now they do not have a voice on the board, and they want to make sure their concerns are considered.
News4Utah contacted Board Chair Derek Miller. He tells us it’s premature to comment because they are just beginning to look at the process and procedure for handling tax differential.