Voters will be asked this summer to approve a $60 million bond issuance and $6.9 million leeway to take the Alpine School District into the 21st century.
After six months of study and deliberation, the five-member Alpine Board of Education unanimously agreed Tuesday to pursue the public-funding option in the upcoming election. If it passes, the measure would increase property taxes $63 a year on a house valued at $100,000."We have capital needs that are extensive. We have ongoing needs that are extensive," said Superintendent Steven C. Baugh. "This will help our kids into the 21st century."
The bond will pay for land for four or five new elementary schools, the construction of the buildings and renovation of existing structures.
Current plans call for schools to be built as soon as possible in northeast Orem and the border of Alpine and Highland, with remaining schools added as growth predictions are tallied.
Money from the leeway will fund costs to open new schools, class-size reductions, upgraded technology systems and expanded literacy and safety programs, Baugh said.
The state adds 40 cents to district coffers for every 60 cents given by taxpayers through leeway initiatives. If the Alpine proposal gains approval from voters in the June 23 election, the district would get $2.7 million in state money in addition to the $4.2 million yearly leeway.
"Every year we don't have this leeway, $2.7 million of state funds don't come to the Alpine School District," Baugh said.
With 45,000 students, Alpine is one of the fastest growing districts in Utah. Officials believe enrollment will grow to 52,083 by 2002. Two other bonds were passed in recent years to accommodate the maturing district, which is expected to grow by 1,000 students each year for four years.
A $98 million general obligation bond passed in 1994 was allocated to the construction of two new high schools and four elementary schools. A 1992 bond issuance for $30 million also paid for new schools.
"It's been a hard decision to find a reasonable area (for the amount)," said board member Andrea Forsyth. "It pains me when I hear from patrons who say they will not support bonds if they don't get such-and-such. If this bond does not pass, then every child in the district will suffer."
The board's final recommendation, which will be placed on the ballot, is $1.7 million more than initial projections. Parents like Janalee Lind, the PTA president at Alpine Elementary School, said board members should make sure the needs of the entire district are met while deciding where to spend the money.
"I'd just like the public to know we've talked about this since October," said Ken Sorensen, board member. "We are adding to property tax, but we're always concerned that we're not overtaxing the people."