Supporters of a $66 million revenue package promising new schools, smaller classrooms, computers and expanded literacy programs are forming a well-greased public relations machine to ensure an "education friendly" voter turnout.
Members of the Alpine School Board are recruiting parents, teachers and students to campaign for the passage of a proposed $60 million bond issuance and $6.9 million leeway to make room for projected growth in the 45,000-student district.The measure, which will be decided by voters June 23, would increase property taxes $63.50 on a house valued at $100,000 but would make sure the district can accommodate more than 10,000 new students projected to enroll in Alpine schools by 2002.
A 25-member committee, led by Superintendent Stephen Baugh and board president Marilyn Kofford, will help organize community meetings and distribute information in neighborhoods from Orem to the northern parts of Utah County.
Parents, PTA representatives, business people and community activists from the district's five precincts met for the first time as a group on March 31 to discuss stumping strategies and what projects could be accomplished with the bond and leeway monies.
All committee members were nominated by the school board, Baugh said.
"They come from diverse backgrounds and point of views," he said. "They ask for a lot of information and ask good questions. They are all good thinkers."
Baugh worries residents won't turn out for the summer because attention has turned away from reading, writing and arithmetic to summer fun and vacation.
"My biggest scare is that people have put school out of their minds and that supporters won't be thinking to get out and vote," he said. Passage of the bond and leeway, which will appear as two separate items on the ballot, requires a simple majority.
"People have a chance to say yes or no to both," he said.
Bond money would be used for construction, renovation and expansion projects, and the leeway monies would be dedicated to opening new schools, reducing class sizes, upgrading technology systems and bolstering literacy programs.
Baugh said at least four new elementary schools will be built, with plans already in the works for one in northeast Orem and another on the border of Alpine and Highland. Growth patterns will be studied to determine where other schools will be needed.
"Once people hear that we are the fastest growing district in terms of numbers but are the least funded in the state per student, it makes sense to them that we need the additional revenue," he said.
The Utah County district expects to grow by 1,000 students each year for at least the next five years. By comparison, Jordan School District, the second largest Utah district, is projected to add 500 per year.
Two other bonds were passed in recent 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.
Where to learn about proposed bond, leeway
- American Fork High School, Wednesday, May 13, 7 p.m.
- Mountain View High School, Wednesday, May 13, 7 p.m.
- Pleasant Grove High School, Thursday, May 14, 7 p.m.
- Lehi High School, Thursday, May 14, 7 p.m..
- Orem High School, Tuesday, May 19, 7 p.m.
- Timpanogos High School, Tuesday, May 19, 7 p.m.
- Lone Peak High School, Tuesday, May 19, 7 p.m.