When election results rolled in Tuesday night, showing that the Shelley School District’s proposed $67.8 million bond had failed, Superintendent Chad Williams was surprised.
He was speculating that close to a two-thirds supermajority of voters would support the measure — but only 48% did, not even a simple majority.
The bond would’ve financed a new high school, one with more classrooms and room for future growth.
But voters clearly did not want to take on the extra tax burden, even with the state’s property tax relief bill in effect.
One group, the conservative political action committee Idahope, paid for a billboard to decry the measure: “Nov. 7 Vote No On The Shelley School Bond $67,800,000!! In New Taxes.”
For Shelley school leaders, it’s back to brainstorming solutions to classroom shortages.
Williams said the board will meet Nov. 16 to discuss next steps, and he plans to propose reconvening the building committee, a group comprised of district staffers and community members who help guide decisions.
“Definitely part of that will be to reach out to the community and find out exactly why they voted against it and what they didn’t feel comfortable with,” he said.
In the meantime, there’s a number of short-term solutions the district might enact to address overcrowding.
“None of these are ideal right now,” Williams said. “But they’re possible strategies.”
And he said if community members have any other ideas, he’s open to them.