Idaho Falls to float a $250 million bond for new and updated schools

The Idaho Falls School District’s board of trustees Wednesday approved a $250 million bond proposal to replace an aging high school, build two new elementary schools and fund other major upgrades.

It’s the largest proposed general obligation bond in Idaho history that EdNews could identify. By comparison, the Boise School District passed a $172.5 million bond issue in 2017.

The decision follows “dramatic growth” and overcrowding in the district’s schools, superintendent James Shank said in a statement released Friday.

If approved, a Nov. 8 bond issue would fund:

  • Construction of a new high school on a new site to replace Idaho Falls High School. The existing campus would become the district’s career-technical education center and provide “community spaces for the arts, athletics and more.”
  • Repairs, renovations and a remodel of Skyline High School.
  • Construction of two new elementary schools — one to be built south of Idaho Falls, the other to replace Temple View Elementary with a “new, bigger school” north of Idaho Falls.

More about the impact the measure would have on local property taxes will be available in September, once Bonneville County finalizes its property tax assessments, Shank said.

Idaho Falls has considered ways to upgrade and improve its facilities for years — especially Idaho Falls and Skyline high schools. The district has floated several failed measures during that time, including a $110 million bond issue that tanked in 2017. Bond issues in Idaho require two-thirds support from voters to pass.

The district this winter renewed efforts to create a long-term facilities plan and a months-long community engagement effort with parents, patrons and community members. Go here for more on the effort.

Shank pointed to continued population growth in the district, which, he said, has fueled “overcrowding in many of our elementary schools.”

“We heard from thousands and thousands of people through surveys, steering committee meetings, community meetings and more,” Shank said.

Devin Bodkin

About Devin Bodkin

EdNews assistant editor and reporter Devin Bodkin is a former high school English teacher who specializes in stories about charter schools and educating students who live in poverty. He lives and works in East Idaho. Follow Devin on Twitter @dsbodkin. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

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