March 8: A $288.4 million election day for schools

School districts across Idaho will seek nearly $288.4 million from local taxpayers next Tuesday.

The March 8 election features requests from 41 of Idaho’s 115 districts, with amounts ranging from a two-year, $150,000 supplemental levy in the Mackay district to an $80 million bond issue for a new middle school and other upgrades in the Jefferson County district.

The election’s not a record-setter, and it represents a slight decline from what districts asked for last March, which came in at just under $300 million. March 2017’s election featured a mammoth $715 million in bonds and levies.

Still, next week’s millions make for a big day for voters across the state. The bulk of requested funds — a combined $176.9 million — comes in the form of bond issues for new and improved infrastructure in four districts.

At least 37 districts will request a combined total of nearly $84.6 million in supplemental funding, which help local leaders pad budgets for a variety of expenses.

Four districts are asking for a combined $26.9 million via plant-facilities levies, which have a maximum term of 10 years, can only be used for capital projects but not normally for new facilities.

Here’s a closer look at what’s on the ballot this time around:

Bond issues. At least four districts want local taxpayers to bankroll construction for new schools and other upgrades:

  • Jefferson County: $80 million for a new middle school and other construction projects.
  • Vallivue: $55 million for two new elementary schools.
  • Madison: $25.5 million for a new elementary school and other upgrades.
  • Boundary County: $16.4 million for a new elementary school.

Bond issues require two-thirds support from voters to pass.

Supplemental levies. These measures need simple majority of votes.

Here are this election’s five biggest asks:

  • Nampa: a two-year, $16 million levy.
  • Vallivue: a two-year, $9 million levy.
  • Caldwell: a two-year, $8.2 million levy.
  • Kellogg: a two-year levy worth $5.9 million.
  • Mountain Home: a two-year, $5.4 million levy.

Statewide, the amount of funding schools receive via supplemental levies has grown for six years and counting, setting a new record in 2021-22. In all, Idaho property owners will have bankrolled more than $218.2 million in supplemental levies this school year, up about $1.6 million from the record-setting year prior.

Click here for a full rundown of supplemental levies up for consideration on March 8.

Plant-facilities levies. These levies require either 55%, 60% or a two-thirds majority of supporting votes to pass — depending on the percent of district market value levied.

Here are the four districts seeking them on March 8, and how much support they’ll need:

  • Highland: a five-year, $250,000 proposal (two-thirds support).
  • Idaho Falls: a 10-year, $24.4 million levy (55% support).
  • Mackay: a five-year measure for $748,664 (55% support).
  • Valley: a five-year, $1.5 million proposal (55% support).

More on your district

Find out how your property is levied by your local schools, and how it compares to other Idaho districts here.

Devin Bodkin

About 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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