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Principled and Objective?

The Salt Lake Tribune’s recent editorial on splitting the Jordan School District betrayed their willingness to set aside principle, and pursue their ideological agenda no matter what. Since March 1, the Tribune has issued no fewer than 15 editorials in support of the referendum to repeal Utah’s voucher law, an issue far more “complicated” than splitting a school district. Nevertheless, they argue, the complicated nature of dividing a school district can’t be trusted to a district wide vote. Instead, they believe, that process “should be overseen an independent, dispassionate group [not the voters who would be affected by their decision!] that could call for data, analyze it and make and objective decision.”

While members of the Legislature declare an allegiance to a political party, our 2007 Legislative Scorecard shows how “independent” the Utah Legislature is. Democrat Ed Mayne scored in our top 10 in the 29-member Senate, and Republicans Sheryl Allen, Kay McIff, Mel Brown and Gordon Snow scored in the bottom 15 in the 75-member House. And over the past decade, the Legislature has “called for” and “analyzed” more data about the voucher issue than any other issue. They came to an objective decision, albeit one the Tribune disagreed with.

The Taxpayers Association supports smaller districts, but we find ourselves joining the Salt Lake Tribune in opposing the proposed vote to split Jordan School District. (In our view, there are serious questions about the constitutionality of depriving west side voters of their right to vote.) We hope, however, the Tribune will apply the logic behind their opposition to this vote to other, arguably more important education issues, like vouchers.