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Some concerned over timing of vote on $160 million bond



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SPANISH FORK -- Voters in the Nebo School District have just a few days to decide on a $160 million bond. The district argues new schools and improvements are needed to keep up with growth, but some are concerned about the taxes and timing of the election.

"We need to construct new schools to handle the students that are coming into our district," said Rick Nielsen, assistant superintendent for the Nebo School District.

Big growth in the district will cost big bucks: $160 million for seven new schools and numerous improvements.

"This is something that voters in the Nebo School District should vote against," said Royce Van Tassell, vice president of the Utah Taxpayers Association.

But critics, like the Utah Taxpayers Association, claim the district is pushing the election on voters too quickly. "It's the only election is happening next week. Most taxpayers are paying attention to their vacation. They're not worrying about what's happening at the polls," Van Tassell said.

They want the bond in the November election. Some voters agree, saying the public needs to better understand the issue.

"It was a little hard to understand. I wasn't quite sure what the election was all about," said voter Stephanie Bundrock.

Voter Andrea Robertson said, "The only thing I've heard is just what I've gotten in the mail, and I just haven't even had time to look over it yet."

The election happens June 23. The district sent out flyers and posted a presentation online explaining $160 million would build five new elementary schools and two new middle schools that would be fully operational in two to six years.

The district's assistant superintendent says a June election makes for quicker, cheaper construction. "This is a decision that's in the best interest of students of the Nebo School District," Nielsen said.

Opponents argue if the bond does not pass, taxes on a $250,000 home would drop by $302 a year. If it does pass, that payment continues, as well as an annual increase of nearly $14.

For some parents, it's money well spent. "I think that maybe the bond will help create new schools so that school size won't be so large," said voter Dede Rex.

Again, the election is scheduled for June 23. For more information about the bond, click on the following links:

Nebo School District's online 2009 Bond Presentation.
Information on the Nebo School District Bond from the Utah County Elections Office

E-mail: wjohnson@ksl.com

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Whit Johnson

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