A $22.1 million school election day

(UPDATED, July 11, to reflect results of a recount in the North Gem School District.)

Round Two turned out better for Kuna School District officials — as voters approved the same $6.38 million levy that had been narrowly rejected in March.

Across the state, voters approved 17 school levies totaling close to $22.1 million. Four levies and one bond issue failed.

In Kuna, school officials say the two-year levy will help pay to keep 30 teachers on the job and protect instruction days. But the levy was again the topic of heated debate, as critics said the district hadn’t done enough to cut costs, and suggested the district save money by outsourcing services.

For much of Tuesday night, the Kuna levy lagged behind the simple majority needed to pass. As of 1 a.m., the levy led by a scant two-vote margin.

In the end, the levy passed with 2,533 yes votes, or a 52.7 percent majority, while 2,272 voters said no.

Voter interest ran high. Some precincts reported long lines and a shortage of ballots, as poll officials scrambled to print off duplicate ballots. Turnout in Ada County precincts approached 42.8 percent. All told, more than 4,800 patrons Tuesday; in March, only 2,193 people voted, as turnout scraped below 20 percent.

Next up: an expected August recall election against School Board member Michael Law, who opposed both levies.

Here’s a statewide look at school elections results:

North Idaho

West Bonner: Like Kuna, this district fared better the second time around. Voters approved a one-year, $3 million levy — two months after rejecting a $3.5 million levy. The $3 million levy accounts for about a quarter of the district’s budget. But like Kuna, the West Bonner levy passed narrowly. The levy received 1,322 yes votes to 1,311 no voters, a razor-thin 50.2 percent majority.

North-central Idaho (source, Lewiston Tribune)

Mountain View: With one precinct outstanding, renewal of a one-year, $2.66 million levy was leading with 52 percent approval.

Troy: A $995,000 levy passed with 62 percent support. This was a slight increase from a $907,000 levy passed in 2013.

Whitepine: A one-year, $740,000 levy passed with 64 percent support. This too was a slight increase; voters approved a $706,000 levy a year earlier.

Salmon River: Voters renewed a one-year, $545,000 levy. The measure received 64 percent support.

Lapwai: Voters rejected a $499,000 levy. The measure received only 42 percent support.

Nezperce: A one-year, $445,000 levy was renewed, receiving 68 percent support.

Cottonwood: Voters passed a one-year, $350,000 levy with 59 percent backing. A year earlier, voters had approved a $387,000 levy.

Southwest Idaho (source: KBOI TV)

Bruneau-Grand View: A two-year, $1.2 million levy failed for the second time this year.

Glenns Ferry: Voters turned down a two-year, $1 million levy. It received 47 percent support.

Basin: A two-year, $500,000 levy passed with 64 percent of the vote.

Wilder: Voters rejected a two-year, $299,000 levy; the levy received 46 percent support.

Magic Valley

Valley: Voters renewed a two-year, $600,000 levy, with nearly 67 percent backing. (Source: The Times-News.)

Richfield: A two-year, $450,000 levy passed with 73 percent support. (Source: The Times-News.)

Wendell: Voters gave 60 percent approval to a two-year, $310,000 levy. (Source: The Times-News.)

Central and Eastern Idaho (source: Post Register, except as noted)

West Jefferson: Voters approved a 10-year, $2.9 million plant facilities levy with 77 percent approval.

Shelley: Voters passed a two-year, $1.15 million levy. The levy received 53 percent approval. (Source: Local 8 News, Idaho Falls.)

Salmon: A two-year, $776,000 levy passed with 70 percent approval.

Swan Valley: A five-year, $200,000 plant facilities levy failed. It received an even 50 percent of a 62-62 vote. (Source: Local 8 News, Idaho Falls.)

Southeast Idaho

North Gem: A $4.8 million school bond issue appeared to receive exactly the two-thirds support required to pass. But a recount in July revealed that the bond issue failed by a single vote.

Rockland: Voters renewed a $210,000 levy with 85 percent support. (Source: Idaho State Journal.)

Arbon Elementary: A $50,000 levy was renewed with an 89 percent majority. (Source: Idaho State Journal.)


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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