Utah County clerk initially rejects Alpine School District split proposal; leaders to try again

The rejection came because board leaders submitted two options to divide the district, but the clerk will only certify one to potentially add to ballots.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Members of the Alpine School District Board of Education Ada Wilson, Joylin Lincoln, Dr. Mark Clement, and Sara Hacken, from left, during a meeting on Friday, June 30, 2023.

After deciding earlier this month to consider both a three-way version and a two-way version of dividing the Alpine School District, school board leaders backtracked Tuesday.

Now, they are opting to move forward with a single district reconfiguration proposal — a two-way split — which voters could see on ballots this November.

The decision came after board leaders learned that they could not submit more than one proposal to the Utah County Clerk for certification, a step that’s required to get a proposal before voters.

“[The county clerk] rejected them both on the grounds that we could only submit one for certification at this point,” said Rich Stowell, district spokesperson.

The board now plans to solely resubmit its preferred two-way split proposal to the clerk. If certified, board leaders will still need to conduct a final vote on whether to proceed and include it on ballots. But none of that can happen until after a state-mandated 45-day public comment period passes, likely around mid-July.

(Christopher Cherrington | The Salt Lake Tribune)

The two-way split proposal was selected from a list of six potential redistricting options suggested by MGT, a Florida-based consulting firm hired to conduct a reconfiguration study. MGT representatives presented the options to Alpine school board members in late February.

MGT formally recommended in April that Alpine consider two, two-way split options to possibly include on ballots, but board members instead chose a three-way and two-way split earlier this month.

The remaining two-way split proposal that could potentially head to ballots this November divides the district in half. It would create one district to the west, composed of Saratoga Springs, Eagle Mountain, Cedar Fort and Fairfield.

Another district to the east would include Lehi, Orem, Vineyard, Lindon, Pleasant Grove, Alpine, Cedar Hills, Highland and American Fork.

According to MGT estimates, the eastern district would initially face a $14.5 million deficit. The western district would see an initial surplus of $27 million.

Pending certification, an additional board meeting will take place on May 28 at 6 p.m. to begin the 45-day public comment period. Two more public comment hearings will take place on June 11 and June 25.