Parents file lawsuit against Alpine School District over potential closure of 5 elementary schools
May 9, 2023, 8:30 AM | Updated: Oct 26, 2023, 1:04 pm
(Stuart Johnson/KSL TV)
AMERICAN FORK — A lawsuit filed against the Alpine School District, the district’s board of education and Superintendent Shane Farnsworth seeks to stop the district from potentially closing five elementary schools.
The 33 plaintiffs behind the suit — mostly parents — allege that the district hasn’t followed the law in its process of exploring the closure of Lehi, Valley View, Lindon, Windsor and Sharon elementary schools and associated boundary studies.
The suit, filed in Provo’s 4th District Court, comes less than a month after the same group of parents threatened to bring legal action against the district.
“The parents’ concerns focus on the district not following the spirit or the letter of Utah law for school closures and boundary changes, which requires parents and leaders of affected cities be given a 120-day notice to allow for a robust study and comment period,” according to a statement from the group.
What actually happened and when depends, of course, on who is asked.
According to Utah code, parents of students enrolled in any affected school must be notified 120 days before that school is closed or its boundaries are changed.
“We feel that the board has not met the legal demands placed on them to continue with these school closures,” said Crystal Muhlestein, a plaintiff and parent of students at Windsor Elementary School.
During the district’s Nov. 29 board meeting, after a proposed $595 million bond for the district failed, the board requested a districtwide boundary study to explore possibilities around restructuring or consolidating boundaries and evaluating school buildings for potential closure, Alpine School District spokesman David Stephenson said.
In early December, the district sent a letter to parents notifying them that since the proposed bond failed, the district would be initiating a boundary study that could result in potential closures.