South Summit bond given thumbs up by Taxpayer’s Association
The district is hopeful that the endorsement will help convince voters
A handful of school districts around the state are asking their constituents to vote for bonds this year, but only one was endorsed by the Utah Taxpayer’s Association- the South Summit School District’s.
The association announced its endorsement of the district’s $58.65 million bond on Oct. 19 in a press release. Shad Sorenson, superintendent, said the support from the nonprofit, which analyzes taxes and bonds to see if they are necessary and fair, is tremendous.
“If you can get them to not fight against you, you’ve won,” he said. “In our situation, they came in, they looked at the situation, they looked at our growth projections and were just very impressed with all the preparation work we’d done. They recognized the need.”
The district invited the association to observe the current state of the buildings and see the data of projected student growth, Sorenson said. The district also solicited help from them in order to make their buildings energy efficient.
The majority of the bond money would be used to build a new high school, and the remaining funds would go toward renovating the existing schools. The current high school would then be used as a middle school and the middle school would transition into a school for third- to fifth-graders. Realigning grades would help with overcrowding at the schools, he said.
Sorenson said that, while he recognizes the need for the bond is great, he also understands that many are still concerned about the cost, which would be about $96 per year per $100,000 of taxable value on a single-family home. But, he said, having the stamp of approval from the Utah Taxpayer’s Association shows that the district is going about it the best way it can.
“That still doesn’t take away the pain of the actual expense that it provides to our taxpayers,” he said. “What it does do is it should give peace of mind to our taxpayers.”
If the bond does not pass, Sorenson said the district will have to place students in portables outside of the schools, but that would be a short-term solution. Portables would take away open space, including recreation fields, and there would still be an extra burden on the cafeterias, restrooms and hallways.
“The schools are already bursting,” he said. “Really, the way I look at it is that we would have to seriously consider doing year-round schools.”
Sorenson said he hopes it does not come to that, but with 15 percent enrollment growth in the last decade, there is little more the district can do.
“I wish we could do it without bonding and putting additional burden,” he said. “However, I also recognize that I wouldn’t ask this of the people that I love and care about if I didn’t know that one, it is absolutely needed and two, it was really in the best interest of our community in preparing leaders and people that will sustain and increase the economy as they receive quality education.”
A question and answer open house about the bond at the South Summit School District Office is scheduled for Nov. 2 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sorenson and Kip Bigelow, business administrator, will be answering questions throughout the day.
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