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ASD proposes hasty $175 Million lease revenue bond for new Saratoga Springs High School

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The Alpine School District (ASD) has garnered public attention with its recent announcement of plans to issue a lease revenue bond of up to $175 million. The district says the proposed bond is to fund the construction of a new Saratoga Springs High School.

The decision to pursue the bond at this time suggests a strategic maneuver by the Alpine School District to circumvent upcoming changes to state law. Senate Bill 86 (SB86) will become law on May 1, 2024, and the new State law will impose a cap on school district lease revenue bonds at $200 million within a consecutive three-year period.

“In 2021, the voters rejected a $600 million bond for Alpine School District. After this rejection, ASD has chosen not to ask the voters again to approve the district taking on debt. Instead, since the bond failed, the district will issue nearly $300 million in debt without voter approval that costs the taxpayer more money. It is unfortunate that the district is ducking their responsibility to first seek approval from voters before issuing enormous amounts of debt,” said Utah House Representative Brady Brammer (R) who was the House sponsor of the bill.

The new bond issuance is timely because the district would surpass the $200 million limit. Last year, ASD issued a $90 million bond to build a middle school in Eagle Mountain. The 2023 bond issuance followed ASD voters’ rejection of a $595 million general obligation bond in 2022.

“The growth in the west continues to climb, and by 2028, Cedar Valley High School and Westlake High School are projected to have a combined enrollment of over 6,000 students. A lease revenue bond would provide current resources allocated to capital to address our current capital needs,” said ASD Spokesperson Kimberly Bird when reached for comment on Wednesday.

A public meeting with the bond item on the agenda is scheduled for Tuesday, March 19, at 6 p.m. at the District office, 575 N 100 E, American Fork, UT 84003.

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