North Logan parents give school board an earful on new high school

NORTH LOGAN — As Mike Liechty stood in front of more than 100 parents Wednesday night in the North Park elementary school gym, faces turned from curious to furious. Liechty, deputy superintendent of the Cache County School District, delivered a 45-minute presentation outlining the district’s plan to build a new high school in Millville, a new elementary school in Lewiston and a new middle school in North Logan, as well as renovating and reorganizing many other schools.

The plan would cost taxpayers $99.8 million over the next 20 years.

Following the presentation, Superintendent Steven Norton and members of the Building Task Force Committee answered questions from the floor. The overwhelming majority of the discussion that followed was focused on transportation and building placement. The cost of the proposed bond was brought up only twice in more than an hour of questions.

Many parents wondered why their high school students would have to travel to Millville while middle school-aged children from the south end of Cache Valley would be bused to the new North Logan school.

Shelly Higginbotham asked if there was any way to realign the boundaries so that her six children would be able to stay closer to home.

Norton responded that all North Logan students would attend the new high school, and that it takes only 11 minutes to get there. The crowd muttered at his words and many said they have never been able to make that drive in less than 30 minutes.

Based on the questions asked and criticism of the plans given, the root of the problem was that residents of North Logan felt they had no say in what happened to their children.

Upon review of the members of the Building Task Force Committee, which was made up of 30 individuals, North Logan did not have a single representative, unlike Smithfield which had four.

Scott Anderson voiced a popular opinion when he asked if there had ever been thought given to splitting the district in half. His remarks were loudly applauded, but it was quickly trumped when another parent said there is a group called Parents for School District Merger, petitioning to have their idea of combining the Cache County and Logan school districts on the ballot in November.

Chris Corcoran, a Hyde Park resident and father of four, said he supports the idea of merging the districts despite his work on the Build Task Force Committee. However, the proposal is a plan to move forward with the way things are now.

Norton stressed the fact that no one person had the power to make the decision. It would be a yes or no decision by the vote of the people, he said.

Published in cooperation with the Hard News Cafe. Original story is here.