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Both bond, leeway pass for Alpine

SHARE Both bond, leeway pass for Alpine

With tears streaming down her face, Linda Campbell raised her hands in victory.

"I really came here not feeling we were going to win tonight," said Campbell, who will step down after 12 years on the Alpine Board of Education. "I'm thankful I can leave this position now and know we did something tonight to help children."About 60 percent of voters approved the issuance of a $60 million bond to build at least four new elementary schools and renovate 17 older buildings in the fastest-growing school district in Utah. Plumbing, electrical wiring and roofs also will be fixed in the majority of the district's 53 elementary and secondary schools.

Unofficial Tuesday night tallies indicate 9,554 residents in northern Utah County cast ballots for the general-obligation bond that will raise property taxes $14 annually on a $100,000 house.

Opponents of the tax increase logged 6,532 votes.

A $6.9 million leeway proposal also gained passage with 8,373 votes, or 52 percent of the ballots cast. Dissenters on the leeway, which increases property taxes about three times the amount of the bond, numbered 7,900.

Combined, the revenue package will kick up property taxes $30.50 on a $100,000 house for the first year, climbing incrementally in three years to $63.50.

Leeway monies will pay for a $3.4 million technology upgrade and $1.2 million personnel and utility costs for new schools. Officials also want to spend $1.6 million on literacy and safety programs. Some $700,000 is dedicated to reducing junior high class sizes.

The state gives 40 cents to the district for every 60 cents given by taxpayers through leeway initiatives. As a result of Tuesday's vote, Alpine will receive $2.7 million in on-going funds from the state in addition to the $4.2 million local collections.

"I thought the leeway would be very close," said Superintendent Steven C. Baugh. "I had a gut feeling that was more positive than negative."

Baugh and about 30 members of a parent-driven campaign to promote the public-funding initiatives cheered the final vote count at the district's headquarters. PTA members circulated 45,000 information pamphlets about the bond and voted leeway last weekend.

"That was a critical part of the campaign," said Marilyn Kofford, school-board president. `It really required a team effort."

"It's twins!" exclaimed Assistant Superintendent Gary Seastrand when the figures showing both proposals curried favor with voters flashed on the screen.

"I believe in this. It is necessary. It's needed. I appreciate the positive vote," Baugh said.

"We're not arrogant about this. We appreciate the taxpayers. When you balance the need for children, for new schools, renovations for old schools and other costs, I feel I have the responsibility to go to the people for help."

Baugh said the new schools will ease crowding in the blossoming district. About 52,000 students are expected to enroll in Alpine schools by 2002, an increase of more than 1,000 students a year.

In the past 27 years, voters have approved the issuances of six multi-million-dollar bonds to build new schools in Orem, Pleasant Grove, Lindon, American Fork, Highland, Alpine, Lehi and Cedar Hills. Four have since been retired.

Bond issuances were last approved in 1992 and 1995, when a $30 million bond and a $98 million bond were passed, respectively. With the funds, 10 schools were built, several more refurbished and portables were purchased.