Idaho School Districts Ask Voters For Money...Again

May 19, 2015

Several school districts around Idaho are asking voters to approve levies and bonds Tuesday. That includes Horseshoe Bend, Notus, Parma and Marsing. Turning to local voters for money has become a fixture in Idaho in recent years as schools have sought to fill budget holes left by state cuts. Asking multiple times has also become common.

In Horseshoe Bend, the school district is asking for a $600,000 levy that voters there narrowly rejected just two months ago.   

The Notus School District wants to build a new elementary school. Superintendent Craig Woods says the current 90-year-old building costs hundreds of dollars a day to heat, and does not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“We have issues with that in our building currently,” Woods says. “It’s a two-story building, there’s no lift system. We have students that may need to crawl up and down the stairs if their prosthetic is broken.”

The district asked voters in this Canyon County town to approve a $4.8 million bond last August. It asked again in November. Both times the district came close to the two thirds majority needed to pass.  

Woods says they didn’t do enough between those two votes, but this time is different.

“We surveyed the community, asked them what [was] their reasoning, what were some of the concerns that they had,” Woods says. “The number one topic that came up was the cost of the bond.”

The district decided to lower the amount it collects on a levy used for building maintenance, so taxes won’t go up as much if the bond passes Tuesday. Woods says if the third time is not the charm, the district may try again.

But in the meantime, the Notus School District would probably have to collect more money through that existing facilities levy to add chair lifts. Woods says the district has authority to do that. In that case, he says taxes would go up almost as much as they would with the bond.

Find Adam Cotterell on Twitter @cotterelladam

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