Proposition 2: Ballot initiative to split Alpine school district comes up short in Utah County

Proposition 2 would split the state’s largest school district, creating a new one in Orem.

(Kim Raff | The New York Times) A voter drops off their ballot at a ballot drop box on Election Day outside the American Fork Library in American Fork, Nov. 8, 2022.

A ballot initiative that would create a new school district in Orem was failing on Tuesday night, with 73% of voters against it.

Proposition 2 would have split Alpine School District, the largest district in Utah.

Alpine School District covers nearly half of Utah County, stretching from its northern border — on the west and east sides of Utah Lake — and ending just before Provo. Schools in Orem would have formed their own district.

Two groups formed to support the proposition — Orem Parents for a Better Education and Orem’s Future.

They say as the Alpine School District gets bigger and class sizes grow, students’ learning outcomes have gone down. A new district, they argue, would allow more local control of schools and allow the city to put in place the infrastructure needed to improve student success.

A third group, Stronger Together, opposes the initiative. An Orem-only school district would not have the funding to provide the same opportunities to students, they say, and contend it would result in an increase in property taxes. The century-old Alpine School District, they say, is equipped to help students meet learning objectives.

A feasibility study prepared for the Orem City Council found it is “feasible for Orem City to create its own school district,” and echoed Proposition 2 supporters’ arguments. Stronger Together described the study as “biased” and fundamentally flawed.

The Alpine School District also has a bond to build more schools on the ballot. The bond includes proposed construction of six new schools, as well as rebuilds and renovations of others. The only projects listed that would impact Orem are multiuse facilities at Timpanogos and Orem high schools, both scheduled for 2025.