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Potential Alpine School District split: What’s next?



Alpine School District stakeholders have discussed a split of the state’s largest school district, with over 85,000 students, for the last several years. Orem’s failed Prop 2 ballot question and the district-wide bond failure of 2022 have left ASD patrons questioning: What should we do?

ASD is in the middle of a district-split study conducted by Florida-based MGT Consulting. The study started in the fall of 2023, and MGT’s initial results were recently presented to ASD staff and the public during three open house forums earlier this month. MGT shared Six viable reconfiguration plans.

Now what?

With the passing of SB221 this year, an outline for what’s next has been codified in Utah law.

Provo Senator Keith Grover (R) sponsored SB221. He taught in the Jordan School District during its split nearly 16 years ago. In the House, the bill was sponsored by Susan Pulsipher (R), who previously served on the Jordan School District Board after its split.

“I’ve been working on this bill for two years. It came from right in my backyard after Orem had a proposed split. It created a lot of hard feelings. Through that process, we noticed that some of the [Utah] code wasn’t helpful…these things are incredibly political and incredibly emotional,” said Senator Grover on the Senate Floor in February. 

The bill requires a feasibility study, public notice and public comment with at least two open houses. If a new district(s) is passed, the formation of new school district boards, asset allocation, and special needs student protections are required. It also requires the existing school district to be dissolved when the new school districts begin providing education services. 


“Should the decision be made to split, it calls for all the districts in the split to become new districts. In the Jordan district split, Canyons became a new district and started over, but Jordan continued as the same district. However, in reality, it wasn’t. That was a situation where that district had 40% of the money and 60% of the kids. It was very difficult for the old district to move forward,” said Rep. Pulsipher on the House Floor. 

“The new district could keep the same name and even the same policies, but that would have to be adopted and done intentionally. It allows a clean start,” continued Pulsipher. 

The bill allows four different routes for a district split: the school district, a city or municipality, a citizen initiative, or an interlocal agreement between neighboring cities or municipalities.

The most likely scenario is the school district sending a split to the ballot, like ASD is currently studying, or a city or interlocal agreement between cities that decide to go on their own. The most significant difference in the process comes from who votes on the proposal. In the district ballot option, all voters affected (district-wide) must approve the change. If a city or interlocal agreement between cities decides to send it to the ballot, only those voters residing in the new proposed district must approve the change.

SB 221 also altered the previous “island” isolation area clause, which would have prohibited many cities from creating their own district.

“The “island” isolation clause would be for areas with less than 5,000 students, similar to the Suncrest area,” said Jesse Riddle, Orem City Attorney, who assisted in crafting the bill and spoke during the Committee Hearing. 

If voters approve a district split on this year’s November ballot, the new school district or districts will begin education service on July 1, 2027. The new school district boards would be elected in or around July 2025 and spend the following two years addressing asset distribution, policies, and staffing.

The interruption for students with disabilities or those requiring special services was also mitigated in SB221 by the state legislature, permitting students to attend a school that serves students with disabilities within or outside of each school district boundary for five years.


For an ASD split to be on this year’s 2024 General Election ballot, the entire process must be started by mid-May and completed by the district, city, or an interlocal agreement by August 15.