Bonds passing in four of six school districts, including Granite and Canyons

Voters embraced multimillion-dollar bond proposals in the Canyons and Granite school districts, according to Tuesday’s unofficial election returns.

At night’s end, Canyons’ $283 million package had captured 56 percent of the vote, while Granite’s $238 million plan had 55 percent.

“Our kids deserve to learn in facilities that are safe, functional and capable of delivering a 21st-century education,” Terry Bawden, Granite’s Board of Education president, said in a statement. “The passing of this bond puts us in a much better position to deliver on that promise.”

Supporters of the Canyons bond said the results look promising and many have their fingers crossed in anticipation, said district spokesman Jeff Haney.

Tens of thousands of ballots remain out in Salt Lake County, according to the clerk’s office.

Bond proposals appeared poised for passage in Weber and Morgan school districts, while packages in South Summit and Ogden trailed by 11 percentage points and about 3 percentage points, respectively.

Granite’s bond would boost property taxes by about $15 a month on a $259,000 home. The money would rebuild and extensively update several aging schools in the more than 66,000-pupil district. Major projects would include new Cyprus and Skyline high schools and several other rebuilds, along with upgrades to seismic safety and security throughout the district.

Unlike Granite, property taxes would not increase under Canyons’ bond. The funding would rebuild Brighton High, Hillcrest High and Union Middle School and add a new elementary school in west Draper.

If Tuesday’s results reverse and the bond fails, property taxes in Canyons would fall by $118 a year on a $373,000 home.

South Summit’s $58.65 million plan would rebuild and accommodate a growing South Summit High, boosting taxes on a $310,000 home by nearly $300 a year.

Morgan’s $49 million bond package had 52 percent of the vote Tuesday night. Its passage would pay for an addition to Morgan High and a new middle school in Mountain Green. The tax tab on a $300,000 home: $158 more a year.

Taxes would not go up even if Ogden and Weber school districts get the green light on their respective $106.5 million and $97 million bonds.

Weber’s bond proposal, up by nearly 17 percentage points, would erect two new elementary schools to relieve overcrowding and add classrooms to Fremont High.

Ogden hopes to rebuild several aging elementary schools, along with other projects. But voters were narrowly rejecting the proposal at night’s end.

Bonds function similar to a mortgage, school districts borrow money to fund the construction for rebuilds or renovations and pay the funds back over the course of several years. State law prohibits the use of bond funds for salaries or other ongoing expenses.

School officials said low interest rates made seeking bond approval more enticing this year. Many argued that waiting even a few years would result in large increases in construction costs.

Only South Summit School District’s bond proposal received endorsement from the business-backed Utah Taxpayers Association, which lobbies to limit state and local tax levels. The association remained neutral on Granite, Canyons and Ogden districts’ bonds and didn’t meet with Weber or Morgan officials.