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LEGISLATURE DIDN'T MANDATE BOND VOTE, WRIGHT SAYS

Information sent to voters here wrongly implies that one reason for a $30 million bond election May 7 is that the Nebo School District is mandated to reduce class size, according to Rep. Bill Wright, R-Elberta.

"If you read it you'd think the Legislature caused this problem," he said Wednesday. "(The vote) is not the result of legislative action."District Superintendent Denis Poulson refused to respond to Wright's comments.

The Legislature approved $30 million in new funding, added to $20 million already appropriated to reduce class size statewide. The money can be used to hire new teachers, improve education programs or in part for facilities, he said. Poulson said Nebo School District's allocation is about $2 million. Much of that will go to hire 50 additional teachers, who will start in the fall.

"But class size reduction is not mandated by the Legislature. They don't have to take the money," Wright said.

District officials say they need the $30 million from the bond election to renovate schools to alleviate overcrowding. If the bond fails, officials say they may have to initiate alternative scheduling that could include double sessions, extended day schedules or year-round schools. They may even need to bring in more portable buildings.

If voters pass the bond measure, it could add as much as $55 a year to their tax bills for every $100,000 in property value.

The district has grown by more than 2,100 students in the past five years, enough to fill three large elementary schools, school officials say. However, only one new school will be built with the bonding if it passes. That school will be on the east side of Spanish Fork.

Officials say the district could top 20,800 students by 2000. Building projects the bonds would fund include additions to Payson Junior High, Art City Elementary and Sage Creek Elementary, both in Springville; Mapleton Elementary, Spanish Fork's Brockbank Elementary and Spanish Fork High School.

Remodeling is also planned for Landmark High, an alternative high school in Spanish Fork; Payson High and Springville High. The district also wants to buy land to hold for additional growth.