Alpine School District public relations directors, Dr. David Stephenson and Kimberly Bird presented details of the projected bond to about 40 patrons at Lehi Junior High Thursday evening. The power point presentation outlined the results of two surveys taken by patrons of Alpine School District. The surveys were sent via email to 75,000 patrons. About 6000 responded. Of the respondents, 89% were very satisfied or satisfied with Alpine School District, 92% were satisfied with their student’s education, 90% were satisfied with school safety and 90% were satisfied with the technology in the district. The survey further indicated the #1 priority for the bond projects was building more schools to alleviate the crowding in many of the district’s schools. If the bond does not pass the #1 concern is the large class sizes.
The high growth in certain areas of the district was presented showing where the greatest need was for additional schools. It was projected that Westlake High School would be over 3500 students in the next three years and a high school was needed to deal with the crowding at Westlake. Additionally, two middle schools, and 4-5 elementary schools were included on the bond. It was noted that the complete remodel of the remaining part of Lehi High School would be in the first phase of the bond. A basketball stadium, much like those at American Fork High School and Pleasant Grove High School would be in the final remodel which would begin immediately if the bond passes in the November election. Other important considerations for bond monies would be: improve building safety, technology infrastructure, rebuild of outdated schools, retrofitting of older buildings, maintenance of buildings, and providing extra-curricular facilities. Purchasing additional land for schools was also part of the final money outlay.
It was pointed out by the presenters that the $386 bond amount would be layered so as not to increase property taxes on the residents of Alpine School District. Because of the district’s long-standing bonding practices of quickly paying off existing bonds, their excellent bond rating, and the accountability of spending practices has made bond elections favorable for the district. It was also noted that there are sections of the district that have not voted favorably for the bond in past elections but these were few. The general consensus was that because Alpine has been accountable to their patrons for the promised projects the bonds have been passed successfully.
Several patrons asked pertinent questions regarding the bond. One question was, “Why doesn’t the district initiate a “pay as you go” policy?” It was explained that in districts of high growth there simply is not enough capital to pay for school construction without bonding. Another patron queried, “Is the reconstruction of two Orem elementary schools just an attempt to buy votes in the Orem area?” Mr. Stephenson responded that the two schools in Orem are in need of retrofitting and are older than most of the other schools in the district. One Lehi resident suggested that it would be better to raise impact fees for school buildings in high growth areas rather than bond.
School board member, Scott Carlson addressed the issue of buying votes. He was adamant that it does not happen in this district. He also reiterated that older schools do have safety concerns that need to be addressed. He also brought to the attention of those in attendance that in the last bond, as with this new bond, Lehi City pupils will be the beneficiary of the greatest percentage of bond money. One more bond meeting will be held for Lehi citizens on Wednesday, May 11 at Willow Creek Middle School. The meeting will start at 6:30. All patrons are encouraged to attend.