Group: Department of Education looking at Title 1 complaint against Alpine School District
OREM, Utah — A group said low-income and minority kids in Orem have been losing out on money and opportunities in the Alpine School District and it said Wednesday it has the U.S. Department of Education on the case.
Arturo Morales of Standing for Orem pointed to a complaint filed in July by a former with the Office of Civil Rights that alleged that Alpine School District was discriminating against Title 1 students on 7 different fronts.
The complaint was met with a letter response from the Office of Civil Rights on July 28.
“We are doing an initial evaluation of your complaint to determine if we have sufficient information and legal authority to allow us to take action on your concerns,” the response stated.
The letter noted an initial evaluation of the complaint should be completed within 30 days of receipt. It was unclear late Wednesday what the status of the complaint was and a call to the U.S. Department of Education had not yet been met with a response.
Among the issues raised by the complaint were specialty programs were more accessible in affluent areas and that $130 million in tax money was funneled out of Orem and away from Title 1 students over the past 20 years in favor of building schools in other areas of the district.
“We’re not getting our fair share of what we paid in taxes,” Morales said. “Our students have been neglected.”
Morales also pointed to decisions made by the district such as moving low income and minority students from Hillcrest Elementary to the much larger but further away Centennial Elementary School.
“These students used to walk to school—now they can’t do that, they have to be bussed,” Morales said. “The quality of education is not as personalized as they can have (at) a smaller school.”
An Alpine School District spokesperson said Wednesday that the district had not received any sort of notification about the complaint from the Department of Education, so he was unable to provide a response.
Word of the complaint came about a month prior to voters deciding on Proposition 2. If approved, the measure would pull Orem out of Alpine School District in favor of forming a new district.
Groups recently had advocated both for and against the measure.
Morales said he supported the proposition.
“I think the fastest solution is for Orem City to split,” Morales said. “We take control of our own destiny and we remedy our own situation here in the city.”
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