Idaho Falls, Middleton bond issues fall short, again

(UPDATED, Sept. 13, to reflect that Aberdeen’s plant facilities levy failed.)

In Idaho Falls and Middleton, the second verse was the same as the first.

Voters in both districts rejected bond issues to build new schools — for the second time in a year.

On a $207 million Election Day, voters approved less than $74 million in bond issues and school levies. Here’s the statewide rundown from Tuesday.

Idaho Falls: $99.5 million bond issues. Failed.

The district pushed a pair of proposals to modernize and replace its high schools. Both fell short of the two-thirds supermajority needed to pass.

The main proposal earmarked $86.2 million to replace Idaho Falls High School and renovate Skyline High School. It received only 58 percent support.

That vote essentially killed the district’s second ballot question, a $13.3 million proposal for a performing arts center and gymnasium-auditorium. This ballot question hinged on passage of the first proposal — but the second proposal received only 57 percent support.

The vote was almost identical to November, when voters rejected a $110 million bond issue.

Click here for an in-depth recap of Idaho Falls’ latest proposals.

Jefferson County: $36 million bond issue. Passed.

The fast-growing Eastern Idaho district got the go-ahead to build a new elementary school, renovate two existing elementary schools, add playground equipment at Roberts Elementary School and add a paved parking lot at Rigby High School. The proposal passed with 78 percent support.

Middleton: $28.8 million bond issue. Failed.

The growing Canyon County district was seeking to build a new elementary school, renovate an existing elementary school, upgrade security and acquire land for future school sites. 

The bond issue received 59 percent support, falling short of the two-thirds threshold. The outcome mirrored the results from March, when Middleton’s proposal received 60 percent backing.

Bonneville: Two-year, $11.6 million supplemental levy. Passed.

With 64 percent support, voters renewed a levy that will help cover teacher salaries, classroom technology and gifted and talented programs.

Unlike bond issues, supplemental levies need only a simple majority to pass.

Gooding: Ten-year, $9.5 million plant facilities levy. Passed.

With 70 percent support, this levy for building repairs and upgrades easily cleared the 55 percent threshold for passage. (More details from the Twin Falls Times-News.)

Wilder: $5 million bond issue. Failed.

The Canyon County district hoped to build a new lunchroom and kitchen and vocational-agricultural classrooms and a shop, but the bond issue received only 39 percent support.

Voters also rejected a levy to continue to fund Wilder’s membership in the Canyon Owyhee School Service Agency, a cooperative that has provided professional-technical services, special education and gifted and talented and alternative programs to five member districts. This levy also received only 39 percent support.

Parma: $5 million bond issue. Passed. 

In this Canyon County district, 73 percent of voters signed on to a plan for a new agriculture education building, an expanded high school band room, updated athletic facilities and security upgrades.

Richfield: $4 million bond issue. Passed.

Seventy percent of voters approved the Magic Valley district’s proposal for a new gymnasium, a new agriculture education building and a new heating and air conditioning system in the main school building.

Madison: Two-year, $3.99 million supplemental levy. Passed.

The renewed levy will cover new textbooks and classroom technology upgrades and restore two days to the school year. The renewal received 73 percent support.

Aberdeen: Ten-year, $2.75 million plant facilities levy. Failed, with 64 percent support.

Payette: Two-year, $800,000 supplemental levy. Passed.

With 74 percent support, voters renewed a levy to backfill classified staff salaries and replace curriculum materials.

Idaho Education News reporter Devin Bodkin contributed to this story.

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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