Football Special Section: Lehi High School  11

Lehi High School football players practices for their upcoming season on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015. SAMMY JO HESTER, The Daily Herald

Change can be daunting.

Parents of students who will be attending the new Skyridge High School in north Lehi this fall and Lehi High School have expressed concerns to the Board of Education of the Alpine School District about the impact on the football programs at both schools.

The parents of some of the football players at Lehi High School have appealed to the board to allow their players to remain at the school instead of going to Skyridge.

There is a process in place for exceptions to be made to enrollment plans. The boundaries for the two schools are closed for the coming school year, with a few exceptions. Students who are juniors this year at Lehi High School may elect to remain at that school. Those who are sophomores and have siblings who will remain at Lehi High School also may attend that school. Others may petition the district for an exception based on their individual circumstances.

Forms to apply for an exception are available at the main office of Lehi High School. The deadline to submit them is Dec. 1.

David Stephenson, spokesman for Alpine School District, said the district goes through an extensive process when it comes to determining boundaries for a new high school.

“We have a boundary committee, which works with Lehi city staff,” Stephenson said. “We meet with them to look at areas that are going to be developed in Lehi and get their feedback. The committee went out to all of the schools, to share proposals for boundaries. People were able to give comments. The comments were all considered by the committee. They gave a recommendation to the school board.”

After the board made its recommendation to set the boundaries so most of northeast Lehi students would attend Skyridge, some parents asked the district for a change of heart.

"I am here to ask the board to reconsider," said Cole Cooper, who spoke at a board meeting on Nov. 10. “I don't think it reflects what our community thinks or wants to do.”

Cooper was concerned about the athletic programs at the schools and students having to wait to find out if their request for exceptions would be approved.

Morgan Bingham said he was concerned the coaches at Lehi High School would not be able to keep their best players.

“To me this is morally, ethically and legally wrong,” he told the board.

Lisa Jones said the school boundaries are "going to destroy Lehi High School on a competitive level."

“I reside in the Lehi boundaries that remain at Lehi High School,” Jones said. “Those kids have played together, some since the first grade. We will not have any sports teams that will be competitive. Kids are being forced to go to Skyridge. ”

Jess Christen, the administrator for grades 10-12 in the Alpine School District, wrote a letter to the parents about the students and their athletic eligibility.

“(Utah High School Activities Association) rules for athletic eligibility will apply,” Christen wrote. “All current freshmen or sophomore students in Skyridge boundaries who have established athletic eligibility at Lehi High (unless a special circumstances exception is granted) will be enrolled at Skyridge and their athletic eligibility will be transferred to Skyridge.”

Stephenson said the district wanted to allow choice, but it was necessary to move ahead with set boundaries for logistical purposes.

“We truly want to give choice,” he said. “It is important for us that parents have the opportunity to be able to choose. But the main reason why we have the boundary when we open a new school is that we have to deal with the master schedule. We work hard to establish the boundary so that we have that and we are prepared for the number of students who will be attending that school.”

This helps district officials plan for the proper number of teachers and support staff at all affected schools, plus allowing preparations for supplies.

“We like to accommodate as best we can and still provide the best comprehensive programs we can to all of our schools,” Stephenson said. “We want the best comprehensive high schools at both Lehi High School and Skyridge High School."

"We are excited that we are able to provide a second high school in Lehi because of the growing population," Stephenson said. "We appreciate the community for their support in providing the foundation that enables us to build a new school."

Daily Herald reporter Barbara Christiansen can be reached at (801) 344-2907 or Twitter: @bchristiansen3.

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