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Vineyard residents upset after Alpine School District runs short on school construction funding

Posted at 5:42 PM, Oct 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-07 20:01:03-04

VINEYARD, Utah — Alpine School District may not be able to not keep promises made to taxpayers during the 2016 bond election.

It comes after $387 million in property taxes were allocated to build or renovate a dozen schools.

Emily Bean settled in Vineyard with her husband and three kids under three last year.

“We were sure this was going to be an elementary school soon. With our planning, we thought we should be golden. It will be built by the time our kids are ready to go to kindergarten,” Bean said.

The elementary school site near Bean’s home was said to be one reason why the district needed $387 million. Three years later, the bond is an estimated **$58 million short.

“It’s crazy. It’s pretty ridiculous they ran out of money,” said Kim MacMurdo, mother in Vineyard.

District spokeswoman Kimberly Bird admits the district may not build the Vineyard school or another proposed in Eagle Mountain next year. Two other communities face elementary overcrowding in Saratoga Springs and Lehi.

“We recognize that Vineyard is a high-growth area. We recognize that they, too, are bursting at the seams and we need to do something about them and about their particular school situation. I believe it will happen. It’s a matter of priority and when,” Bird said.

FOX13 dug into expense reports and learned the district was over budget in every construction phase: $10.4 million in phase 1, $35.4 million in phase 2 and $34.7 million in phase three.

The reason? Bird said rising construction costs and land prices, as well as value-rising additions to other projects.

“The district has always kept its commitments. Again, we’ve made a recommendation on the district side to the Board of Ed to continue to keep commitments that we’ve made to our public. I think that is not really an issue for the board, keeping commitments, it is which [project] becomes the greatest priority,” Bird said.

School board leaders may decide Tuesday night how to come up with the extra cash which includes selling land, dipping into cash reserves, or taking out a loan.

“They should just be true to their commitments and built the schools that they promised us,” Bean said.

The school board meeting will be held at district offices in American Fork at 6:00 p.m.