Ballot measures: Three districts will try again Tuesday

(UPDATED, 11:31 a.m., May 17, with Emmett levy.)

In the Bonneville, Notus and Horseshoe Bend school districts, Tuesday’s elections have a familiar ring to them.

The three districts are taking another shot at convincing voters to approve funding measures that have been rejected previously.

Here’s a statewide look at next week’s school ballot measures:

Bonneville: $56.1 million bond issue. The plan is unchanged; the Eastern Idaho school district would use the money to add another high school. But the district is hoping for a slightly different outcome; in March, an identical bond issue received nearly 66 percent support, falling just below the two-thirds supermajority required to pass a bond issue.

“Changing the plan after such a narrow defeat would ignore what most district patrons voted to support,” the district says on its website. “Postponing the election would delay the opening of the high school by at least another year, which the majority of the board felt would be a mistake because it would almost certainly necessitate split sessions.”

Chuck Shackett portrait
Bonneville district Superintendent Chuck Shackett

Even if the bond issue passes next week, the district may have to impose split sessions in the transition, Superintendent Chuck Shackett told Idaho Education News in April. The new high school won’t open until 2018, and the district’s high schools will likely be 500 students over capacity this fall.

Bonneville’s overall enrollment grew by 738 students in 2014-15, the state’s largest increase.

Notus: $4.8 million bond issue. The Canyon County district hopes to build a new elementary school. If this bond issue fails, district officials say they would have to spend $383,500 repairing the district’s existing elementary school, which opened in 1926.

An identical bond issue received 61.4 percent support in November.

Horseshoe Bend: Two-year, $600,000 supplemental levy. Like many districts, Horseshoe Bend is still feeling the effects from recession-era state budget cuts. The Boise County district’s financial woes worsened in March, when the IRS demanded $68,000 in unpaid payroll taxes dating back to 2012.

Also in March, a $600,000 supplemental levy fell 22 votes shy of the simple majority required for passage.

The proposal would continue an existing school levy and would not trigger a tax increase. District officials say they would use the money to keep teaching staff intact, upgrade textbooks and classroom technology and expand electives, among other plans.

Sugar-Salem: Two-year, $900,000 supplemental levy. While 93 of Idaho’s 115 school districts collected supplemental levies in 2014-15, this Madison County district was one exception to the rule. Sugar-Salem hasn’t collected a supplemental levy since 2011-12, and district officials hope to use this one to hire a teacher and districtwide resource officer, and cover a variety of facilities and textbook purchases.

“Our board members are trying to keep costs to taxpayers at a minimum while also realizing the importance of maintaining our buildings and equipment in the best possible condition,” Superintendent Alan Dunn said. “This levy will help us do that.”

Preston: Five-year, $4.5 million plant facilities levy. Requires 55 percent majority to pass.

Emmett: Two-year, $2.8 million supplemental levy.

Troy: One-year, $1.2 million supplemental levy.

Whitepine: One-year, $850,000 supplemental levy.

Marsing: Two-year, $800,000 supplemental levy.

Ririe: Two-year, $770,000 supplemental levy.

Parma: Two-year, $700,000 supplemental levy.

Salmon River: One-year, $545,000 supplemental levy.

Nezperce: One-year, $475,000 supplemental levy.

Cottonwood: One-year, $350,000 supplemental levy.

Butte County: A one-year, $330,000 bond issue extension, to pay for an athletic track and other facilities projects.

Kamiah: One-year, $325,000 supplemental levy.

North Gem and Grace district consolidation: Patrons in the two eastern Idaho districts will vote on a consolidation plan that has split the districts’ superintendents. The plan requires majority support from patrons in both districts.

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]

Get EdNews in your inbox

Weekly round up every Friday