Aug. 30: A $261.4 million school election day

School districts across Idaho will seek over $261.4 million from local taxpayers on Aug. 30.

Twelve of the state’s 115 districts are making requests, with amounts ranging from an $80 million plant facilities levy in Coeur d’Alene to a $59.4 million bond issue for a new elementary school and other upgrades in the Middleton district.

Idaho’s seen bigger school election days. March 2017’s election featured a mammoth $715 million in bonds and levies. March 2022’s total: $288.4 million.

Still, the upcoming election will be a big day for several districts. The bulk of requested funds — a combined $144.3 million — comes in the form of bond issues for new and improved buildings in five districts. These measures require two-thirds supermajority support from voters to pass, while supplemental levies need a simple majority. Both plant facilities levies up for consideration on Aug. 30 need 55% support.

Seven districts will request a combined total of over $117 million in levies aimed at padding local budgets covering a variety of other expenses.

Requests for local funds are long-running trend in Idaho. The state’s supplemental levy bill set a new record in 2021-22. Idaho property owners bankrolled more than $218.2 million in supplemental levies last school year alone, up about $1.6 million from the record-setting year prior.

Here’s a closer look at ballots this time around:

Coeur d’Alene: a 10-year, $80 million plant facilities levy, projected to cost local property owners $50.03 per $100,000 of taxable assessed value.

“The funding will allow the school district to address hundreds of safety, health and maintenance priorities in schools and other district facilities,” Coeur d’Alene’s website reads.

Go here for more on the measure.

Middleton: a $59.4 million bond issue for a new elementary school, career-technical education center, renovations to Heights Elementary School and other repairs.

Estimated cost to local property owners: $140 per $100,000 of taxable property.

Click here and scroll down for a sample ballot.

Vallivue: a $55 million bond issue for two new elementary schools, with an estimated annual cost to local property owners of $52 per $100,000 of assessed value. The measure would also include renovations and repairs at other district schools, safety and security upgrades and land purchases for future construction, according to a sample ballot measure.

It’s the district’s second attempt to pass the measure.

Blaine County: a five-year, $25 million plant facilities levy for facilities repairs and improvements. The measure, which requires 55% support from voters to pass, carries an annual price tag of $34.90 per $100,000 of taxable value.

Boundary County: a $16.4 million bond for a range of upgrades:

  • A new elementary school to replace Valley View Elementary.
  • An addition to Bonners Ferry High School.
  • A new shop at Boundary County Middle School.
  • Traffic flow solutions and paving at Naples Elementary.
  • A new roof for Mount Hall Elementary School and other facilities upgrades.

Estimated cost to taxpayers: $23 per $100,000 of assessed taxable property value. It’s the district’s second attempt to pass the measure.

Jerome: a $12 million bond for the “addition, remodel and/or repair of” Jefferson Elementary School and other maintenance projects.

The measure would cost $41 per $100,000 of taxable value annually.

Buhl: a seven-year, $6.3 million plant facilities levy to buy and improve future school sites and upgrade existing buildings, including a new lunch room and kitchen at the district’s middle school, elementary restrooms and other building upgrades.

The measure carries an estimated annual cost of $109 per $100,000 of taxable value and requires 55% support from voters to pass.

Madison: a two-year, $3,990,000 supplemental levy for the district’s mental health program; salaries and benefits and safety, technology, maintenance and renovation projects.

Projected annual cost: $83.63 per $100,000 of taxable property.

Plummer-Worley: a two-year, $1,255,000 million supplemental levy for staffing, athletic transportation, building maintenance and school security measures.

Projected annual cost: $52.83 per $100,000 of taxable property.

Ririe: a $1.5 million bond issue for school bus purchases and school maintenance projects. It’s the district’s second attempt at passing the measure.

Projected annual cost: $57.15 per $100,000 of taxable property.

Salmon River: a one-year, $495,000 supplemental levy for salaries and benefits, extracurricular services, technology and classroom materials.

Projected annual cost: $233 per $100,000 of taxable property.

Three Creek: a two-year, $40,000 supplemental levy for “paraprofessional aid.”

It’s only the second time since 1993 that the district has asked for a supplemental levy.

Projected annual cost: $83.58 per $100,000 of taxable property.

Devin Bodkin

Devin Bodkin

EdNews assistant editor and reporter Devin Bodkin is a former high school English teacher who specializes in stories about charter schools and educating students who live in poverty. He lives and works in East Idaho. Follow Devin on Twitter @dsbodkin. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

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