Consulting firm seeks feedback at public meetings this week on potential Alpine School District split options

Mar 13, 2024, 12:02 PM | Updated: 2:17 pm

OREM — As the Alpine School District mulls a potential split that could create one or two additional districts, a district-hired consultant briefed the public at Timpanogos High School Tuesday evening on six different potential options on the table and then collected feedback.

One option would simply be to remain intact as one district while the other five options offered different two- and three-school district configurations, according to Kimberly Bird, district spokesperson and executive director of internal relations and operations.

Bird said the district hired a third-party consulting firm in MGT to gather feedback from employees, parents and residents about the potential options and then make a recommendation to the school board in April.

“They have spent the last five-plus months studying information about the district, conducting personal interviews with citizens across all 14 municipalities,” Bird told KSL TV. “They are doing all they can to not have the bias of a school district and understand the complexity of our districts.”

Among the different options, Lehi appeared to be a pivotal area on the boundary maps. The two-district options differed by placing Lehi in a west district and an east district. One of the three-district options gave Lehi its own district, although the consultant told the audience in attendance Tuesday night that it didn’t appear there was a “huge appetite” for that one.

According to district officials, the consulting firm hoped to collect as much feedback as possible from all parties before the company presents to the school board in late April.

Bird said the ultimate hope, if the district’s board does decide to move toward a split, would be to have a final vote on the proposal in July, in time to get an initiative before voters on the November ballot.

“That’s probably one of the most frequent questions we get asked — what is the favorite option?” Bird said. “Truly we don’t have a favorite. (The board is) in listening and learning mode.”

Those who attended the public meeting Tuesday had a variety of opinions on how the district should proceed.

“I would like to see a split, I really would,” said Kim Colledge.

She acknowledged it was challenging, however, to know which option to support when the consulting firm asked for feedback at the end of the presentation.

“At the end, they’re asking people if they want to split but you had to remember from the beginning what the little numbers were and it was really hard at the end to say ‘which one was it I liked’ because I didn’t have the demographic view up there so I could see which split I really wanted,” she said.

Tim Anderson, meanwhile, hoped the end decision would be for Alpine School District to remain as one district.

“Stay,” he said simply.

He expressed concerns that a split would mean fewer resources for all.

“I think there is going to be a lot of debate,” Anderson acknowledged. “I’m afraid people may not be rational and think about their need locally and not the big picture and how you make ends meet and how money works and how our kids can best be benefitted in the long run.”

Additional public meetings were scheduled at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Vista Heights Middle School in Saratoga Springs and Thursday at American Fork Junior High School.

Bird said after the round of meetings the presentation would also be available online, on the district’s website and on social media for all in the district to view and provide feedback if they weren’t able to attend in person.

She said ultimately the Alpine board wanted as much informed feedback as possible in deciding on how to proceed.

“They’ve got a lot that they’re juggling and wanting to make sure that they’re making a well and wise decision,” Bird said.

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Consulting firm seeks feedback at public meetings this week on potential Alpine School District split options