Dear Provo School Board,
We respectfully request that you allow us to complete the process of challenging your decision to bond to relocate Dixon Middle School. We believe Utah Code § 20A-7-602 gives us the right to challenge the decision and clearly lays out the steps that we must take, as well as the steps the County and the School District must take.
In October of 2021, we sent you a letter, drafted by our attorney, explaining why we believe we have the right to challenge the decision using the process laid out in Utah Code § 20A-7-602. We were hoping to work out this disagreement about the process with you – to either have you explain why Utah Code § 20A-7-602 does not apply to your decision or to work out how we can proceed with the signature-gathering with the requisite cooperation from the District. Other than a social media post criticizing the letter and a few Board Members telling us that your lawyers had advised you not to discuss the issue with us, we have not heard anything back from the Board or the District.
Though our intention was to have an open conversation, we see now that involving an attorney complicated having such a conversation. We were shocked when we were told, more than a week after carefully following the process laid out in Utah Code § 20A-7-602, that the District believed we were following the wrong process and that the clock had been ticking on the process defined in a different provision in Utah Code (17D-2-502). Not knowing what to do, we hired an attorney to review the situation. Please understand we are ordinary citizens and have never needed to navigate these kinds of legal issues.
The attorney we retained provided us with a legal review of both § 20 and § 17D and how they apply to the bonding decision. According to the review, the District was correct in identifying Utah Code § 17D-2-502 as one process, but there is nothing in the code that says it is the only way to challenge the decision. The recently revamped process defined in Utah Code § 20A-7-602 allows citizens to challenge any legislative action. This is the process that we were following, and we met every deadline. Unless you can provide us with a sound legal reason why Utah Code § 20A-7-602 is not available to us, we ask that you fulfill your responsibilities in the process so we can move ahead.
We hope you understand that we genuinely believe that rebuilding Dixon Middle School at its current location is in the best interest of Provo City and the education of the children here. We acknowledge that, as a body, you have come to a different conclusion, and we respect the Board’s role in determining where the school should be rebuilt. You have been duly elected by the people of Provo to make that decision. That is part of the process as defined by State law. We hope that the Board can respect that the referendum procedure is also part of that State-defined process and we hope the District will cooperate as we exercise our legal rights. We don’t want you to view us as “the opposition.” Please do not see engaging us in a conversation as “providing the opposition a detailed description on how to legally oppose the bond.” That is not the Provo Way. The Provo Way would be to see us as concerned parents and citizens just trying to participate in the process as the law allows and to help us understand the complex legal process.
Please engage with us in finding a resolution that doesn’t disenfranchise the people. Allowing us to complete the signature-gathering process, as defined in Utah Code § 20A-7-602, will reveal if there is enough public concern to justify taking the question to the voters in a referendum, or it will if there is sufficient support among the public for the relocation to take place.
Thank you for your service and your consideration of this request,
An Open Letter to the Provo School Board
Dear Provo School Board,