Financing The Future: Examining School Bonds And Levies

Boise State Public Radio and Idaho Education News are partnering to produce a week-long series on how the March 14 statewide school elections affect students, communities and taxpayers.

Join us as we go inside the aging schools slated for tear-down. We hear from the administrators on the details of the bond. We look into the history of school finance in Idaho. And we consider the effects on the students and the taxpayers.

Tune-in the week of February 27 during Morning Edition on KBSX 91.5 and online for stories, photos and extras. 

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Jaeden Forrey took on an unusual school assignment.

“This is my 1970 Monte Carlo," says Forrey. "I got it – not this last Christmas but the Christmas before. And I got it [when it] had no paint, no engine, no transmission, no interior. So I did all the body work, I did all the engine work and interior work on it.”

Flickr Creative Commons

This week in our news series Financing The Future: Examining School Bonds And Levies, Boise State Public Radio and Idaho Education News looked at the finances and infrastructure of the Boise School District. We studied school bonds, past and present, and walked through aging buildings slated for a tear-down. We visited a career-technical high school ready to expand its programs and saw over-crowding at a dual-language immersion school.

With the March 14 bond election on the horizon, Matt Guilhem sat down with Kevin Richert to wrap up the series.

Whittier School Students Kids
Tom Michael / Boise State Public Radio

The Boise School District has been building its case for voters to approve its $172 million bond on March 14. This isn’t the first time the district has had to sell the idea of a bond. There was a bond passed in 1996 and in 2006, and a levy in 2012.

More than a decade ago, voters approved a $94 million bond. Nancy Gregory was on the Boise School Board at that time.

Flickr Creative Commons

Ada County’s three school districts will go to the polls March 14 with ballot measures. There’s a lot at stake, for classrooms and communities.
 

Idaho Ed News

For school districts across Idaho, a $709 million election day looms.

At least 45 of Idaho’s 115 school districts will seek bond issues, plant facilities levies or supplemental levies on March 14, according to Idaho Education News research. The bottom line: At least $709.2 million in ballot measures are on ballot.

Under Idaho law, school districts can run ballot measures on four election days: in March, May, August and November.

Why the logjam on March 14? Timing is certainly a factor.

Lacey Daley / Boise State Public Radio

Bonds in Idaho can be hard to pass, in part because a lot of “yes” votes are needed at the polls. So how school districts explain their need and the cost to voters is critical in a bond campaign.

In this installment of our Financing the Future Series, we take a closer look at the Boise District’s bond and why it could be a challenge to pass.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

On Feb. 9, House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding convinced the House Local Government Committee to introduce a proposal to reduce Idaho’s two-thirds supermajority.

And that’s as far as it’s likely to go. Erpelding has been told his proposal will not get a hearing. By his count, there have been 11 attempts to reduce the supermajority since 1990, and none have made it through the Legislature.

“I guess I can get in line,” Erpelding, D-Boise, said Friday.

Boise State Public Radio and Idaho Education News are partnering to produce a week-long series on how the March 14 statewide school elections affect students, communities and taxpayers.

High school junior Erin Frazer is laser-focused, moving her mouse deftly as she manipulates an image on her computer screen.

“I think Illustrator is my favorite out of all these programs,” she says.

Matt Guilhem / Boise State Public Radio

Boise State Public Radio and Idaho Education News are partnering to produce a week-long series on how the March 14 statewide school elections affect students, communities and taxpayers.