With three weeks left before the next election, the Coeur d’Alene School Board declared a financial emergency on Friday in the event voters reject a third funding proposal.
And the parents of children attending schools that are at-risk for closure were notified by email. Borah, Bryan, Dalton and Ramsey elementary schools were identified by the district.
According to the district, those schools were identified because of location, building age and condition, school capacity or size, zoning, transportation, and Title I funding.
“This announcement is very difficult to make,” said superintendent Shon Hocker. “We have been clear with our employees, students, families, and stakeholders that if the supplemental levy fails on May 16, we will have to close one or two of our elementary schools.”
The district says it is facing unprecedented staff layoffs and school closures if voters reject the proposed two-year $50 million supplemental levy next month. The district’s operating budget relies on the levy to cover 25% of its operating budget.
The district failed to convince voters in August and March to pass the funding measure. Now, the current request trimmed off millions of dollars and removed the “perpetuity” measure.
The proposed supplemental levy replaces an existing one that costs $76.17 per $100,000 of taxable assessed value. If the May 16 levy is approved, the tax is expected to increase by $19.04 per $100,000, for a total of $95.21 per $100,000 for two years.
To find out more about how this levy will impact your taxes, use this link to reach the district’s information page.
The school board also decided that the administration cannot notify employees impacted by a reduction in force without board approval. So those teachers whose jobs could be in jeopardy were not notified this week, as originally planned.
“Any school closure the district implements will impact real people — students and their families, teachers, staff, and communities,” Hocker said.
“We recognize that members of our community have many questions about what closing a school or schools means and we will do our very best to answer those questions,” he said. “We appreciate everyone’s patience as we learn the answers to the questions and move through this difficult time.”
According to Idaho state law, a financial emergency can be declared for any state organization if it stands to lose 1% or more of its general fund.
For more information on how bonds and levies work, go here.