Hundreds of millions on the line for schools in Tuesday’s election

Local News

SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – Six school districts will have bond measures on Tuesday’s ballot totaling more than $830 million. Districts are going about it in different ways, but all say upgrades are desperately needed. Some opponents worry about increased tax burden, and how the money will be managed.

Canyons and and Granite school districts are asking for the most. Granite is asking for a $238 million, while Canyons is asking voters to approve $283 million. Although the two are going about it in different ways.

Granite is asking for a tax increase which works out to around $190 a year for an average home worth $259,900. Canyons on the other hand isn’t asking for a tax increase, but instead asking voters to extend current tax rates longer. Which equals around $118 for a home valued around $373,000.

Granite School District spokesperson Ben Horsley said nearly half of their buildings have outlived their use and are in need of upgrades. Like many districts Horsley said they’re worrying about the increasing cost of construction.

“Construction costs are steadily rising and that’s a big concern for us because these construction needs are not going to go away,” said Horsley. “Even if the bond fails we are still going to have this capitol need.”

Horsley said Cyprus is one of the biggest examples of schools needing a full rebuild. Sections of the facility are 100 years old. Along with technology upgrades there would also be safety taken into account. With more than 120 entrances into the high school Horsley said it’s not ideal for lockdown standards.

Kirsten Wright has kids who go to Cyprus. Even though her kids will be gone by the time construction begins she still plans to vote yes.

“I don’t know how you could go wrong investing in the kids,” said Wright. “Whether you’re an empty-nester or not it doesn’t hurt to have kids have a little bit of an advantage, get smarter.”

While the majority of those we talked with said the support the Granite bond, others told us they voted no. Some told us they were on a fixed income and couldn’t afford it, while others said they’re kids had already graduated.

Phil Millett has young children, but still voted no. He worries about the tax burden, but also how the money is being managed once it’s approved.

“We all have soft spots for kids and their education and we all want them to do well,” said Millett. “But those in charge and those running the programs aren’t doing it effectively.”

Ballots had to be post marked by Monday, but they can still be turned in to a polling location or county clerks office by 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

These are the districts and a link to their bond information.

Granite, Canyons, Weber, Ogden, South Summit, Morgan.

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