Like most Utah County citizens, we here at the Deseret News Utah County Bureau were surprised at Bill Orton's stunning upset of Karl Snow.
But that was not the only election result that surprised us.We, like Nebo School District officials and teachers, are a little perplexed by the results of Tuesday's leeway vote.
Is it not worth about $25 a year to provide a better education for our children? Evidently about 53 percent of Nebo's voters don't think so.
In trying to figure out why voters rejected the leeway I can only think of a few reasons: Voters don't have faith in how the district would spend the money if it had it; those who voted against the leeway don't have children; class size doesn't matter because it's just as easy to baby-sit 30 children as it is 25; and education is not a priority.
No matter what the actual reason, I think Tuesday's leeway rejection sends only one message to Nebo's teachers and administrators - that message being that a large number of Nebo citizens do not consider education a priority.
Well, I think that those who voted against the leeway have their priorities out of place. Just think of all the things you spend $25 on during a year, at least 20 of which are non-essential.
Is it too much to ask that you spend one less night on the town a year? Is that fishing rod you've been eyeing worth more than improving your child's reading ability? And sad, but true, is a night of intoxication more important than more instruction for a child?
And not that I have anything against the Utah Transit Authority, but I find it hard to believe that voters in Springville find a bus ride to Provo more important than a better education for their children. After all, both come at about the same annual cost.
Because 6,380 Nebo citizens are not willing to sacrifice one of life's pleasures, students in the district will now be at a disadvantage. Almost every student throughout the state will receive more teacher attention than those attending school in Nebo School District.
Nebo, in an age where voters constantly accuse government of being sneaky and deceitful, tried to be honest and straightforward; whereas about half of the districts that received leeway revenue did so by using a loophole in the legislation.
Instead of raising taxes, they just shifted money from other funds. And when it came time to return the money to the original funds, many districts had to turn their face away from the mirror and write the state a letter saying they do not have a class-size problem.
But the decision has been made, and Nebo officials say life in the district will go on. The district will continue operating on one of the state's lowest per-pupil spending ratios and will have some of the highest class sizes. And even though disappointed, district officials say they made the right decision by taking the issue to the voters.
I'm not sure I agree. Because 10 years from now the districts that were not up-front will have teachers with high morale and students with higher test scores. Nebo will have teachers with low morale and citizens with a few more toys to play with.
What Nebo's voters have done is teach their children that loopholes are better than straight lines.
(Jim Rayburn, Springville, is a staff writer in the Deseret News' Utah County bureau.)