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Plan to Split Alpine District Won't Be on Ballot

Plan to Split Alpine District Won't Be on Ballot

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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- Utah County commissioners have voted 2-1 not to put the proposal to split the Alpine School District before voters.

Supporters of the plan to carve out the Lehi High School area to create a new Pioneer School District cannot try to get it on the ballot again for another four years.

Studies had estimated that the split would increase the school portion of property taxes 40 percent. Taxes in the reduced Alpine district would have gone down.

"I'm happy and relieved," said Lehi resident Michelle Kendall, who was one of only a handful of residents at the county commission meeting Tuesday.

Last year, sponsors submitted a petition with more than 1,200 signatures of voters in the Lehi area who wanted the school district split. The county appointed a committee to study the feasibility of creating a new district. In June, the committee finished its report recommending against the split. Then commissioners opened a 45-day public comment period, which ended more than a week ago.

Rep. David Cox, R-Lehi, was not happy with the commissioners' decision.

Cox sponsored the legislation allowing school districts to split and was one of the sponsors of the petition to split the district. He also sat on the committee that studied the feasibility of the split and was the only committee member to support creating a new school district. He teaches fifth grade in Lehi's Sego Lily Elementary School.

"We can't keep growing," Cox said of the Alpine School District. "There has got to be a point, there has got to be some way to do this."

Cox said he's worried the Alpine School District won't be able to get the necessary votes to build new schools in the Lehi area, and Lehi students will end up being bused to Orem schools.

Lehi Mayor Ken Greenwood and members of the Lehi City Council opposed the district split, citing the tax costs.

County Commissioner Gary Herbert said he voted against the split because he believes the law allowing for splits is flawed and incomplete, and he doesn't agree with the proposed boundaries.

County Commissioner Jerry Grover voted in favor of the proposal, saying, "I never really perceived my role as to interfere with that power given to the people. If a petition comes in, I'm inclined to put it on the ballot."

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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