Cassia County faces $15 million building shortfall

Eight months after getting the go-ahead for a variety of school building projects, the Cassia County School District has a $15 million problem on its hands.

A voter-approved $37 million bond issue will fall far short of what’s needed to pay for projects in Burley and Declo.

The Twin Falls Times-News first reported about the funding crunch last week.

Debbie_Critchfield
Debbie Critchfield

“We’re not sitting on this,” district spokeswoman Debbie Critchfield said, according to the Times-News. “We’re trying to be transparent and figure out what to do.”

The district’s options are limited, according to the Times-News: scale back the building projects or go back to voters for a followup bond issue. Neither option appealed to school trustees or a citizens’ committee that worked on the bond issue.

The district is blaming its architect, Hal Jensen of Pocatello, saying he underestimated project costs. The district is considering a lawsuit, according to the Times-News.

“I had some elements that were underestimated,” Jensen told the Times-News. “I feel sick.”