For the past week, we’ve joined forces with Boise State Public Radio to take an in-depth look at the Boise school bond issue — and the big March 14 school elections all across Idaho.
Olson is always a good interview: opinionated, engaging and a good storyteller. We spent much of our time talking about Boise last bond issue.
In 2006, Olson convinced Boise voters to pass a $94 bond issue to replace some aging schools and renovate others.
Olson had to make a nuanced case. District enrollment was flat. Boise didn’t need new schools to accommodate enrollment growth. Instead, Olson believed Boise needed to upgrade its schools to revitalize stagnant neighborhoods, and prevent the “socioeconomic donutting” that occurs when young families flee cities for the suburbs.
Boise voters said yes, with a 70 percent support.
Looking back, Olson says he believes the bond issue delivered on its promise. Most importantly, he believes the new and refurbished schools have shown all students that they matter.
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“They see things in their school and they see things in their community that are possible,” he said.
Here’s more from the series:
- A look at two Boise elementary schools embracing the wrecking ball
- How a Boise career-technical school prepares students for jobs in high demand
- The bond issue ‘supermajority:’ a debate as old as Idaho
- Across Idaho, a $714 million election day looms
- What it takes to pass a school bond and what it could mean to your taxes
- The legacy of school bonds in Boise