Chris Jones, KUTV 2News

Chris Jones

KUTV 2News

Salt Lake City, UT, United States

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Recent:
  • KUTV 2News
Past:
  • KRNV
  • Local 12/WKRC-TV

Recent articles by Chris:

Combating the #1 reason kids miss school. Hint: it's not COVID

Once a week at Vineyard Elementary, the storage room becomes a dental practice. Utah Valley University dentistry students provide some basic cleanings and examinations for kids who otherwise don’t have access to dental services. Vineyard principal Victor Larsen is the one who recognized the need for pediatric dental care, and he spearheaded this program. “We’re probably able to get anywhere from… → Read More

Students at Utah universities priced out of housing

Property manager Derek Morton calls his local housing market in Cedar City, Utah, “Insanity. ” He owns Netgain Property Management, and said his vacant units were filled months ago, within the same week as graduation. In a typical year, he said, this would have taken all summer. Southern University of Utah students are missing out on about 250 properties that were formerly dedicated to student… → Read More

Utah renters forced to pay hundreds of dollars more to keep their apartments

When Genifer Goodwin found a notice on her apartment door, she couldn’t believe the offer: If you want to stay in your apartment for another year, you’ll have to pay hundreds of dollars more per month. “How am I going to feed my kids when I’m paying an extra 400 dollars a month in rent? " she said. Goodwin said she feels like the victim of a “bait and switch. ” She never imagined this when she… → Read More

Parents of disabled kids struggle to find inclusive classrooms

Henry Sandy is 10, and has Down syndrome. While that diagnosis is classified as an “intellectual disability,” triggering special services in his Salt Lake City school district, he loves his neighborhood school, where he is treated just like everyone else. As of now, he can walk to Bonneville Elementary with his brother and sister every day. Parents of disabled kids struggle to find inclusive… → Read More

Debates over Critical Race Theory in schools continue at Capitol

Despite the state school board’s creation of a rule that dictates how Utah teachers can talk about race in the classroom, the debate over Critical Race Theory just won’t go away. Today at the Utah State Capitol, members of the legislature’s Education Interim Committee reviewed the Utah State Board of Education’s rule, which addresses “how educational equity is included in educator professional… → Read More

Tough real estate market flummoxes would-be charter schools

Charter school developers are experiencing what homebuilders and homebuyers already know — the market is tight and building materials are off-the-charts expensive. Caption: KUTV: Beyond the Books investigates Case in point: after trying and failing to lease 15 different properties, the new Utah Mountain School finally secured the building that formerly housed Capstone Academy, which closed in… → Read More

Investigation confirms Vanguard Academy’s self-dealing of school services

The Utah State Charter School Board released a report about West Valley City charter school Vanguard Academy, prompted by a Beyond the Books investigation and “multiple” citizen complaints. Investigators found numerous transactions that were directed to relatives of the school’s administration, many without a competitive bidding process. → Read More

Utah is a step closer to making school mask mandates illegal

The Utah Legislatures' Interim Education Committee voted Tuesday to advance a bill that would ban school districts from implementing mask mandates next school year. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Mike Petersen of Cache County, would make it illegal for a school district to force kids to wear a mask in the case of an outbreak of COVID-19 in a school. Petersen’s bill would require the school board to… → Read More

Summer school in Utah: What it might look like in your district

For Utah’s school districts, the path to COVID-19 recovery leads to a familiar place: summer school. Caption: Summer school in Utah: What it might look like in your district. (KUTV) What was once seen as punishment for a kid’s poor school-year performance may now be a fit for a wider array of students, because no one escaped the lost learning time amid the pandemic unscathed. → Read More

Utah schools are buried in paperwork, but new laws could help

Before the pandemic turned education and the whole world upside down, former Tintic School superintendent Kodey Hughes gave Beyond The Books access to his day. Caption: KUTV: Beyond the Books investigates Hughes, who is now in charge of the Juab School District, told us last year that he spends a staggering amount of his time on paperwork required by Utah and the federal government. “I try not… → Read More

Washington County's Tuacahn High School to make big changes

Tuacahn High School in Ivins, the subject of a Beyond the Books investigation,is going to be separated from Tuacahn Center for The Arts. The Tuacahn center, famous for its “Broadway in the Desert” series, runs the well-known amphitheater in Ivins and also manages the performing arts charter school, Tuacahn High School for the Arts. → Read More

Education disrupted: New data shows kindergarteners, 3rd graders feeling harshest effects

Thanks to new data from the Utah state office of education, we now know that nearly 44 percent of kindergarteners and 33 percent of third graders are not reading at the national average of achievement. That’s a sizeable drop from last year’s numbers. Caption: Beyond the Books: Chris Jones reports. (KUTV) This information confirms what has been deemed the “COVID slide,” or the fallout from months… → Read More

School district pays $10K to fly Tooele educators to Georgia for virtual conference

At least five educators from Tooele School District’s alternative high school, Blue Peak, traveled to Savannah, Ga. , for a “virtual” conference this month. Caption: KUTV. You read that right. The conference was online but these Utah educators went in-person anyway, costing the state of Utah over $10,000. Chris Jones with the Beyond the Books team has been inquiring about this strange trip since… → Read More

Partisan elections lead to a more divisive Utah school board

It’s no secret that partisan politics have created an historic divide in the United States. Some fear that rift is now infecting our schools, and ultimately, our kids. Caption: KUTV: Beyond the Books investigates In November, right-wing activist Natalie Cline was elected to the Utah State Board of Education. In the months prior to the election, as a candidate, Cline telegraphed her intention to… → Read More

Impact fees could reduce your cost for new school construction

When a new school is built in Utah, many make the argument that taxing agencies will take not one bite, but two at your pocket book. Caption: KUTV - Chris Jones reports The argument also suggests that we all pay more than our fair share for a school when construction begins. It all started 30 years ago when the Park City School District tried to charge an impact fee to a developer building new… → Read More

Governor's new education budget looks to make up ground lost to pandemic

New Utah Governor Spencer Cox’s first education budget proposal is being called one of the most significant in recent memory. Caption: KUTV: Chris Jones reports The budget includes a 5. 82% increase in the weighted pupil unit — the equation used by the state to figure out how much money school districts receive per student. Currently, each student is funded at about $3,710. The governor’s… → Read More

Teacher exodus: Data shows teachers retiring in droves amid COVID-19 pandemic

During an October morning in St. George, Craig Watts is helping his kids get through an online Chinese lesson. However, if this was a normal October, he would be teaching English at Olympus Junior High School. With cases of coronavirus spiking across the state, Watts, who has a daughter with asthma, had to make a calculation that he felt was safest for his family. Caption: KUTV: Beyond the Books… → Read More

Education funding in Utah about to undergo huge change

Amendment G, the most controversial initiative of Utah's seven constitutional amendments, is on its way to being approved by Utah voters. With 76% of the vote reported, the amendment will likely pass with 53. 7% "for" votes and 46. 3% voting against the measure. If the vote count holds, the way Utah pays for education will change dramatically. Utah’s constitution requires all income tax… → Read More

Complaint filed against 3 Salt Lake City School Board members

Salt Lake City School Board member Mike Nemelka has filed a complaint against three of his colleagues. They include Katherine Kennedy, Samuel Hanson, and Nate Salazar. Caption: KUTV. Recently, it was revealed that the three sent mocking text messages and emails about Nemelka during meetings. Kennedy also sent sent some profanity-laced text messages to the board president. → Read More

Amendment G could end decades of 'sleight of hand' regarding Utah budget process

Matthew Weinstein with the advocacy group, Voices for Utah Children, has been watching Utah’s budget process for years. Caption: KUTV: Beyond the Books investigates “Our legislators love to play the game of robbing Peter to pay Paul,” said Weinstein. That is one of the reasons he opposes Amendment G(also embedded below). A constitutional amendment that would fundamentally change the way… → Read More