EDUCATION + SCHOOLS

Complaint alleges discrimination against Latino students in Alpine School District

Oct 13, 2022, 10:00 AM

Alpine School District students sit at computers...

Kindergarten students work in the computer lab on reading programs. Sharon Elementary School in Orem has about 50 percent of their students that are English language learners and yet they still manage to pass AYP every year. Tuesday Sept. 15, 2009. (FILE- Deseret News)

(FILE- Deseret News)

OREM, Utah – The U.S. Department of Education has agreed to evaluate a complaint against the Alpine School District over race discrimination

The complaint was made in a letter from a group — called Standing for Orem — which claims three schools in the Alpine School District are “knowingly and intentionally” at risk, lacking important updates for earthquake safety.

Standing for Orem is an advocacy group that said online that it supports “citizen accountability and responsible spending.”

The letter used data collected from the Orem School District Feasibility Study in its complaint.

The group alleged the district discriminates based on race and income while diverting money away from schools within the City of Orem. That includes seven of the nine Title I schools in the district. 

Title 1 is a federal program that gives money to schools with high percentages of low-income families. 

Orem Mayor Dave Young said the problems in the complaint are significant and won’t be solved with a magic wand. 

But if the district splits, he thinks that would be different. 

“Orem citizens’ voices would be heard in an Orem School District,” Young said. “And so if you can get local involvement and people’s voices being heard, you don’t have these things that just get forgotten about.” 

Young said the complaint gives an exclamation mark to reasons for the city to split into its own district.

He said the proposed $595 million bond continues to prioritize other areas in the district besides Title I schools.

Related: Orem City residents to vote on separating from Alpine School District

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Complaint alleges discrimination against Latino students in Alpine School District