I.F. bond fails; measures pass in Teton County, Caldwell, Nampa

(UPDATED, 10:02 a.m., with full results.)

For Idaho Falls, it’s back to the drawing board.

For Teton County, it’s time to get to work.

All told, voters approved $92.7 million in school bond issues and levies Tuesday, including a plan that will pay for a series of building upgrades across Teton County. But three measures failed, including Idaho Falls’ $110 million bond issue.

Here’s the rundown from Tuesday’s elections:

Idaho Falls: The largest and perhaps most controversial measure of the night went down to defeat Tuesday.

The $110 million bond issue received 58 percent support, but fell shy of the two-thirds supermajority needed to pass.

The district hoped to use the money to cover two big-ticket projects — replacing Idaho Falls High School and rebuilding Skyline High School.

District officials said the plan grew out of months of meetings with patrons, and would give the taxpayers the best value for their money. Critics said they didn’t want to see the district gut Idaho Falls high — which sits in the heart of an older section of the city — and said the district misled voters by saying the bond issue would not trigger a tax increase.

Teton County: Voters approved two building bond issues with a price tag of close to $37.3 million.

The first $30.05 million bond issue will build new elementary schools in Driggs and Victor and renovate the district’s other elementary schools. The second measure, at slightly more than $7.2 million, will pay for renovations and additions at Teton Middle School and Teton High School.

Teton superintendent Monte Woolstehulme touted community support for the measures, which passed with majorities of 80 percent and 77 percent, respectively.

“(That’s) amazing support from our community for our public schools,” Woolstenhulme said Wednesday.

Bond issue backers said the growing district’s aging elementary schools are cramped, while opponents argued for a less expensive upgrade.

Caldwell: A 10-year, $25.1 million plant facilities levy passed with 63 percent support.

The renewed building maintenance levy, superseding a five-year levy passed in 2015, is not expected to increase tax rates.

Depending on their size, plant facilities levies need different voter majorities to pass; Caldwell’s levy needed to clear a 60 percent threshold.

Nampa: A two-year, $18.75 million supplemental levy passed with 58 percent support, receiving the simple majority needed to pass.

The new levy will replace a two-year, $15.56 million measure passed in 2015, but because of growth, the larger levy is not expected to increase tax rates. The state’s third-largest district will use the money to maintain existing programs, update school technology, support extracurricular activities and complete building and playground upgrades.

Snake River: Voters rejected a 10-year, $7.5 million plant facilities levy. While the measure picked up 55 percent support, it fell shy of the two-thirds majority needed to pass.

The Bingham County district hoped to use a renewed and larger levy to pay for roof repairs and snow removal equipment, upgrade sprinkler systems and repair lights at the football field.

College of Eastern Idaho: Bingham County voters rejected a proposal to join the fledgling community college’s new property taxing district.

The measure received only 39 percent support, falling well short of the simple majority needed to pass.

Bonneville County voters created the new community college in May.

Shoshone: For the second time in three months, voters in this Magic Valley district rejected a $6 million bond issue.

Tuesday’s bond issue received 64 percent support — an improvement from 58 percent support in August — but remained shy of the two-thirds threshold.

The district says the money is needed to add a new multipurpose building for physical education classes, assemblies and community events, build a new vocational facility, expand the alternative school and remodel the district’s main campus.

Kellogg: With 66 percent support, voters extended a two-year, $5.36 million supplemental levy.

Minidoka County: A two-year, $4.45 million plant facilities supplemental levy passed with 59 percent support. The district hopes to use the renewed levy to continue to buy laptops for ninth-graders, to update video and security systems and work on other maintenance projects.

Filer: With 69 percent support, voters renewed a two-year, $1 million supplemental levy designed to keep pace with growth in the rural Twin Falls County district.

Garden Valley: Voters extended a two-year, $700,000 supplemental levy. The levy passed with 60 percent support.

Idaho Education News reporter Devin Bodkin contributed to this report.

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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