After failed levy election, Kamiah faces cutbacks

A year ago, voters in Kamiah approved a $500,000 supplemental levy — allowing the north-central Idaho district to backfill its budget with property taxes for the first time in four years.

Voters reversed course Tuesday, rejecting a renewed levy. And that means Kamiah School District officials will have to do some backtracking as well.

“It’s frustrating and disheartening, but I keep telling my staff we still have a job to do and we are going to continue to do the work,” Superintendent Steve Higgins told Justyna Thomas of the Lewiston Tribune Wednesday.

Specifically, Higgins told the Tribune, Kamiah will likely drop all-day kindergarten and go back to a half-day calendar. (The state only provides funding for half-day kindergarten; if districts want to expand on that, they must pay for it themselves.)

Built in 1997, Kamiah Middle School is the district’s newest school.

Also, Kamiah will probably close its middle school — the newest school in the district — and consolidate by putting kindergarten through sixth-grade students in its elementary school, and seventh- through 12th-grade students in the high school, Higgins told the Tribune.

Kamiah’s levy received only 46 percent support Tuesday, falling shy of the simple majority needed for passage.

Across the state, 37 school districts sought supplemental levies Tuesday. Proposals failed in only three districts: St. Maries, West Bonner County and Kamiah. (Click here for statewide results.)


Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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