EDUCATION

Letter from the newsroom: We pulled an inaccurate article

Oct 20, 2022, 6:28 PM
Alpine school district students walk outside of Lehi Junior High...
Lehi Junior High, an Alpine School District school, is pictured. (Alpine School District)
(Alpine School District)

Dear readers and listeners of KSL NewsRadio,

This Thursday morning, for an hour and 25 minutes, KSL NewsRadio’s website featured a headline reading: “Alpine School District announces 7 possible school closures in Orem”.

The headline and the accompanying article were inaccurate.

We pulled the story after those nearly 90 minutes because our radio newsroom leadership was concerned about the accuracy of the school closure announcement after a caller reported that the press release we used in our article was incorrect. Upon further review of this story, we have determined that the purported press release did not come from Alpine School District and that the district has not announced any school closures.

This information that led to the article came from an email to KSL, presented as a press release.

All of this centers around a bond being proposed in the Alpine School District for $595 million. 

This bond is an emotional topic for people who would like to see it passed, people who want to see it fail, and many others in between. 

We’ve reported on a letter sent to the Department of Education saying that schools in Orem were being treated differently because they are Title I schools — schools that receive federal funding because they have high numbers or percentages of low-income families and their students. We’ve also reported on complaints filed against Orem City officials for the way they’re reportedly advocating for the city to split from the Alpine School District. 

The school district has an entire page dedicated to its bond. The Utah Taxpayers Association says, if the bond passes, it would be “the largest issuance of school district bond debt ever in Utah” and calls the amount of money “staggering”.  

Everyone has a stake in this game — and journalists should bring you the most accurate and latest news.

The story we featured Thursday morning was not that — it was factually inaccurate. 

Alpine School District unequivocally says those seven schools will not close. Here’s the district’s statement to KSL NewsRadio Thursday afternoon: 

“The Alpine School District bond on this year’s ballot will address the following: 

  1. With enrollment growth of 9,000 new students over the last five years and projected growth of an additional 5,000 students by 2030, new schools are essential to house students.
  2. The age and condition of some school buildings present safety concerns resulting in the need for rebuilds and renovations.
  3. Safety upgrades are also needed to address security measures in schools to protect students and teachers.

If the bond is approved by voters, one new high school, one new middle school, and four new elementary schools will be constructed with the bond funds. Additionally, the final phases of reconstruction will take place at American Fork and Pleasant Grove high schools, addressing seismic issues. An elementary school will also be rebuilt. Three high school multipurpose additions will be constructed at Lone Peak, Orem, and Timpanogos high schools. Door locks and security cameras will also be upgraded at various schools. 

Bond presentations have been taking place over the past few weeks to inform voters of the facts about the bond priority projects. Information about the bond is available at these meetings, in the voter information pamphlet sent to all residents in the mail, and on the district website: alpineschools.org. 

It is concerning when members of the community in an official capacity publicly share misinformation to mislead or create fear among voters. No school closures were announced. School closures must go through a public process outlined in Utah State law.  

We encourage courtesy, understanding, and thoughtful review of information as voters cast their ballots this election season.” 

 Alpine School District says it is not closing these schools.  

“Have we consolidated schools? Yes, we have,” said district spokesman David Stephenson. “When they’re down to 200, 300 students and they need to be rebuilt.” 

Our inaccurate headline is now being used as a tool to campaign for Proposition 2.  

The image being shared has been doctored to include a list of schools that never appeared in the article. That list includes nine schools, even though there were only seven schools in question. The font of the text is different from our website. The featured image was covered up.  

It’s not an accurate representation of KSL, and the article was not an accurate representation of Alpine School District’s position. 

KSL NewsRadio has worked with the Alpine School District directly after identifying the issue and apologized for the error.  

 For any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact KSL NewsRadio’s Program Director Kevin LaRue via email or at 801-575-7681; or Assistant News Director Kira Hoffelmeyer via email or at 801-575-7604.

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Letter from the newsroom: We pulled an inaccurate article