Idaho Falls to pay off bond debt early, considers asking for another

The Idaho Falls School District plans to pay off its current bond debt early, and float a separate bond issue for a new high school and other structural upgrades.

Trustees on June 15 approved a resolution that sets aside $5.65 million from the district’s payment and redemption fund to fully pay off a $53 million bond nine years earlier than planned.

The bond was approved by local voters in 2012 and set to mature in 2032, but will now be paid off next year, saving local property owners some $850,000 for the early payoff.

The board has taken several similar actions over the past few years. The latest early payment contributes to overall savings of about $7.5 million, district spokeswoman Margaret Wimborne told EdNews Monday.

Paying off the amount early will help soften the blow a future measure could have on local property owners, a Friday news release from the district said. In Idaho, home and business owners bankroll bond issues for local K-12 facilities projects.

The district has spent the last six months gathering feedback from parents, patrons and staff to develop a long-term facilities plan, which recommends:

  • Constructing a new Idaho Falls High School to replace the current one.
  • Renovating Skyline High School.
  • Building a new elementary school south of Idaho Falls.
  • Replacing Temple View with a new elementary school north of town.

The board is expected to announce next steps this summer, which will likely include a bond resolution, Friday’s news release stated.

Funds from the 2012 measure covered costs for new Dora Erickson, Ethel Boyes, Edgemont and Longfellow elementary schools; renovations for Emerson Alternative High School; transforming Clair E. Gale Junior High into a district-run charter school; creating new science labs at Skyline High School and making minor improvements to Idaho Falls High School.

“Idaho Falls is growing. We need to ensure the facilities … keep pace with that growth so we can continue to provide students with the education and opportunities they need to be successful after high school,” said Idaho Falls superintendent James Shank.

Idaho Falls enrolled 10,194 students in 2021-22. The prior year’s enrollment: 10,005.

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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