School funding initiative moves into signature-gathering mode

Organizers say they have the go-ahead to pursue their voter initiative to increase taxes, and put the proceeds towards Idaho schools.

The secretary of state’s office certified the language for the “Invest in Idaho” initiative late Friday afternoon, Reclaim Idaho said in a news release.

For Reclaim Idaho — the group behind 2018’s successful Medicaid expansion initiative campaign — that means the clock is ticking once again. The group will need to collect 55,057 signatures statewide, representing 6 percent of Idaho’s registered voters, and collect signatures from 6 percent of registered voters in 18 of Idaho’s 35 legislative districts.

If Reclaim Idaho collects the necessary signatures by the April 30 deadline, the initiative would appear on the November 2020 ballot, where it would need majority voter support.

Reclaim Idaho is proposing an increase in corporate income taxes, and a new and higher tax bracket for individuals making more than $250,000 per year. The proceeds, projected at more than $170 million, would go into a separate fund for education. Money from this account could be used for several purposes, including teacher salary increases, reducing class sizes, all-day kindergarten, career-technical programs and textbooks and classroom supplies.

“A generation of Idaho kids have been left behind by the legislature’s failure to address the education and jobs crisis in our state. We can’t afford to leave the next generation in the same quagmire,” Reclaim Idaho Executive Director Rebecca Schroeder said Friday.

As Reclaim Idaho moves into signature-gathering mode, one Idaho teacher says he will take a personal day on Nov. 5, Election Day, to circulate petitions. Vallivue teacher Levi Cavener discussed his plans in a radio interview that aired Friday.




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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