OREM, Utah (ABC4) – A new study is prompting Orem leaders ask the public if they should leave Alpine School District and create their own.
The study shows multiple issues in Orem’s schools, and it would be economically feasible to leave. This comes as Alpine School District plans to pass a $595 million bond, which would partially fund Orem schools but also increase property taxes.
According to the findings, residents would pay about 7% less in property taxes if they create their own district and alpine’s bond passes. But they would also pay 7% more if they leave and put money towards earthquake safety.
It’s a complicated issue, that’s why their leaders need public input.
The study is 281 pages detailing the past 5 years for 15,000 students in Orem.
“My takeaway is there’s a number of issues that we need to dive into a lot deeper,” Orem Mayor David Young said.
The study finds grades were low.
“We found a decline in test scores in many of the schools.”
Class sizes were large.
“We’re over 30 in our class sizes in neighboring districts your more in the 20s.”
The buildings had poor earthquake safety.
“We don’t want our kids in a place that can cave in on them in school.”
In the past, almost 20 years about $120 million of Orem residents’ taxes paid for schools outside of Orem.
“There’s a disparity because of the priorities alpine school district has to build new schools for residences throughout the district.”
The conductors of the study explained, being in a larger school district means your money doesn’t necessarily stay in your city and their findings points to benefits of being a smaller district.
“In smaller school districts there was a correlation between a teacher in smaller classes and higher achievements.”
Mayor Young also said changing to a smaller district could bring resources back to the city.
“We’d have local representation we would have more ability to effect how our kids are taught, what they’re taught, and have our money be used in our own community.”
Alpine School District responded to this study saying, “We’re aware of the study of conducted by Orem City and we’re cooperative in providing information. We encourage residents to study the issue.”
The next step is deciding whether or not to put a new school district on the ballot, then residents would vote on it this November.
Orem’s first public meeting about the new district is tonight at 7 p.m.