Vineyard and Lindon mayors clarify position on joining potential Orem School District
Orem voters continue to receive confusing information on issues revolving around Proposition 2, a ballot measure to determine whether Orem should have its own school district.
“Misinformation and pure nonsense are running rampant in the Orem/Alpine School District split issue,” according to Mayor David Young and other supporters of Proposition 2.
On Tuesday, claims of a number of schools allegedly being shutdown by ASD exploded in emails and Facebook threads and caused undo concern for many people, including Orem City Council member Terry Peterson. If true, the move could also affect at least Vineyard students attending Orem schools.
Alpine officials disputed the closure rumors in a statement Wednesday.
“I was deeply concerned to hear of the potential closure of up to seven more schools in Orem, as was discussed by Alpine School District officials at the bond meeting Tuesday night,” Peterson said.
“Alpine School District has already closed three schools in Orem since 2017, and we can’t afford to lose any more. Our children and teachers deserve better than that. We need to create an Orem School District to preserve our Orem schools from ASD’s closures,” Peterson added.
By the time Peterson heard of rumblings of closures, media outlets had already put it out as fact. On Thursday morning, KSL Radio pulled down its “fabricated” story, according to an email from Alpine School District to its employees.
But when one rumor ends, it appears another one takes its place.
On Thursday, social media platforms were seeing residents ask what is going on with Vineyard and Lindon in regards to separation from the Alpine district. Some Facebook threads alleged that Council member LaNae Millett said, in talking to one of Lindon’s city council members, that city was ready to join a new Orem district.
“I have been speaking to various people involved in various aspects of the school district discussion. Like many others passionate about the issue, I continue to share what I’ve learned,” Millett said. “The way the legislation is being written, Lindon and Vineyard have the option to join the Orem District if Prop 2 passes. Nothing is set in stone, as an Orem District does not yet exist, but this is a likely possibility.”
“Any statements I made about the possibility of a merger between an Orem school district and Lindon and Vineyard were discussions of possible scenarios and levels of interest,” Millett added. “Although Orem would welcome Lindon and Vineyard, we do not need them to maintain a financially feasible district. Orem District would welcome Lindon and Vineyard.”
Millett is one of the sponsors for those favoring Proposition 2 in a voter information pamphlet distributed by the city. Other sponsors reportedly have told residents to vote for the proposition and the two cities will join, per Facebook posts that could not be verified by the Daily Herald.
In order to put rumors to rest, Lindon Mayor Carolyn Lundberg and Vineyard Mayor Julie Fullmer have weighed in on what their cities’ involvement is with the proposition and a potential Orem School District.
“As an adjacent city to Orem with children attending schools across both our boundaries, many Lindon citizens have been following the issue and are watching Orem’s upcoming decision whether to create a new district,” Lundberg said. “Lindon City is neutral at this point, as our citizens have not been formally asked to weigh in on the matter, nor has our city council held any official discussions about creating or joining a new district.”
Fullmer, continues to say there is no decision that has been made and appears to be fed up with the questioning. She gave this official statement:
“We have continuously shared in our meetings that we have taken ‘no position at this time’ and that we remain in a time of gathering facts and education that we can share with our residents,” Fullmer said.
“It is our understanding that current legislation proposed in Orem’s press conference is still in draft form, and we have yet to fully vet or review that proposal, but we are actively pursuing the discussion and have reached out to Orem City elected officials and staff to discuss our initial questions,” Fullmer added.
The Vineyard mayor said she believes it’s important for Vineyard residents to become educated on the subject and attend public Orem meetings, whether to ask questions or voice concerns or insights.
“I have stated that we have not made a determination on what we will do if Orem residents vote in favor of the school district split regarding any potential feasibility studies or positions,” Fullmer said. “We have a lot of unanswered questions at this time.”
Those sponsoring the portion of the voter information pamphlet opposing Proposition 2 are saying vote no, start over again and definitely have other interested cities onboard before voting.
Orem must wait three years to bring the district idea back to ballot. Oppositionists say that would allow the time needed to get cities aligned and perform feasibility studies on all of the major issues for a small district that goes beyond the contiguous boundaries of Orem.
“We are not opposed to a future, multi-city district split that is conducted in a rational, fiscally responsible way with Alpine School District. But an Orem-only district is the wrong answer. It’s too expensive, too risky and involves too many unknowns. It jeopardizes the education of our children,” according to a statement by Proposition 2 opponents included in the pamphlet.
Voters have also been told there is new legislation that will allow bringing on other cities after the election. Sen. Keith Grover, who is favoring Proposition 2, has a bill in draft form to allow others cities to join, though it has not been vetted in committee and has not been brought before the legislative body. That is expected when the new session begins in late January.