Citizens react to Provo School Bond results, board looks to future

Timpview High School is one of the 14 schools that the Provo School Bond proposed to rebuild or renovate. (Caleb Price)

Proponents and opponents of the Provo School Bond are reacting to its failure to pass during general city elections. Unofficial results showed just 36.93% of voters supporting the bond.

The bond proposed to spend $245 million on the rebuilding and renovation of 14 schools within the Provo School District.

The bond would have gradually increased property taxes by an average of $265.77 a year, or $22.07 per month.

This tax increase and other community concerns led to over 63% of voters voting against the bond.

Caleb Price, Provo City coordinator of communications and public relations, said the school board is trying to meet to discuss their next step.

“The issues at the schools are not going to go away without something being done,” Price said. “The board will now begin looking at options to address those.”

Nate Bryson, the Provo Board of Education member responsible for Timpview High School, one of the schools the bond promised to renovate, said the board is trying to gather information so they can decide how to proceed following the loss.

“The needs at Timpview are such that something will have to be done soon,” Bryson said.

He and the board hope to have a public meeting sometime in January to discuss their next move.

Provo citizen Caleb Reeve gave his opinion on the bond’s loss in a comment on a post in the Provo Forward Facebook page.

“I think this bond failed because there were too many different reasons for people to say no,” Reeve posted. “For some it was Dixon moving, or (Timpview High School) being fully rebuilt, or the size and tax increase.”

Reeve is hopeful that Provo citizens will come together in deciding how to best settle the issue with the schools.

“I hope we can learn from this and find a way forward that speaks to these issues. I don’t think Provoans are at all, in any measure, against funding education,” Reeve said.

Kristy Burtenshaw, a Provo citizen who voted against the bond, agreed that there were better ways to address the construction issues within the 14 schools the bond proposed to renovate or rebuild. She recounted a story she experienced in her home that reminded her of the circumstances surrounding the bond.

Her family had an empty chimney running up the center of their home that started to collapse over time. Their budget was tight, so they created a structure underneath and stabilized the hollow structure to the roof.

“Would we have liked to take it out? Yes, the budget did not allow,” Burtenshaw said.

She said the situation is similar to what Provo is experiencing with the schools that have structural issues.

“The irony is that Provo was talking about the same type of situation, though less impending, and completely pushed aside the thought of supporting the existing structure,” Burtenshaw said. “People on budgets don’t build new luxurious structures.”

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