AMERICAN FORK — Alpine School District Board of Education voted Tuesday to realign boundaries for a chunk of elementary schools for next fall.

Thirteen elementary schools are affected. Ten of the 13 schools affected by the massive boundary changes already exist and three — in Saratoga Springs, northeast Lehi and Highland — are under construction and are scheduled to open next fall.

Maps of the boundary shifts will be available at www.alpine.k12.ut.us by the end of the week, according to Jerrilyn Mortensen, the district's spokeswoman.

About 10,000 students will attend the 13 elementary schools, although the majority of them are not changing schools.

By next fall, there will be 46 elementary schools in 55,000-student Alpine District, which educates students in northern Utah County.

Alpine administrators anticipate growth in towns near the Salt Lake County line. However, a group of parents in Eagle Mountain whose children will have to change schools dispute parts of those projections.

About 180 students from Eagle Mountain who attend Pony Express Elementary in Eagle Mountain will next year transfer to the new school in Saratoga Springs.

The district maintains that there still will be more than 1,000 students at Pony Express once the children leave. The new Saratoga Springs school will have more than 800 students with the Eagle Mountain students.

The parents think that it is pointless to transfer the children to the Saratoga Springs school soon. They believe it will soon be overcrowded because of growth.

"I know it is much easier to make projections when people are there (and) you can count heads," said Charlotte Ducos. "That's why I continue to send you letters with (Saratoga growth) numbers in them."

Julie Wallace, who lives in Eagle Mountain and whose husband is a homebuilder, said it only takes a few months for an entire subdivision to be created with hundreds of new residents.

"I really think 180 students you're trying to take out of Pony Express will be a drop in the bucket" considering Eagle Mountain's fast growth rate, she said.

Alpine Superintendent Vern Henshaw said that in time there will be neighborhood schools in Eagle Mountain. For now, though, students will have to be bused.

"We understand the growth in (both towns)," he said. "It's a tough call, which areas are going to explode the fastest. We'll need one or two or three more schools over there over time."

As the school board approved the boundary changes, it also approved extended-day schedules for two of the three new schools. Enrollment of the Saratoga Springs and Lehi schools is expected to grow, and such a schedule will be necessary, Henshaw said.

The board also approved a measure that will direct a committee to study how many children will walk to the new Lehi school and what routes they will have to take.

Many will have to cross busy 1200 West, which parents worry will be busier with development in the area. The children live within 1.5 miles and cannot receive state-funded busing. The parents want the district to bus them anyway, and a committee will study the safety and money issues surrounding that, Henshaw said.

The district's budget office recently released projection numbers that estimated an average growth rate of 3.43 percent a year and an estimated 64,750 students by 2010. Enrollment in 1998 was 45,208.

But that growth will not be evenly spread across the district. Enrollment will increase by 57 percent between 2006 and 2010 in schools in Eagle Mountain, Saratoga Springs, Cedar Fort and Lehi.

Enrollment in Alpine, Highland, Cedar Hills and parts of Pleasant Grove will increase by 17 percent in that same time period.

Enrollment in Orem, Lindon and parts of Pleasant Grove will decline, however.


E-mail: lhancock@desnews.com