Middleton trustees survive recall; Lakeland, Bonneville bond issues fail

Big-ticket bond issues lost big in the Panhandle and in Eastern Idaho, and nearly lost across the board.

And three Middleton trustees will remain in office — barely.

Here’s a look at Tuesday’s school election results.

Middleton recall elections: Failed.

Three sitting trustees survived recall elections, but the vote counts still depict a district divided.

  • In Zone 1, 115 voters opted to recall trustee Aleisha McConkie, while 93 voters opted to keep her in office. But McConkie will stay, because the 115 votes for recall did not exceed the 120 votes she received in the 2017 election.
  • In Zone 3, 145 voters wanted to recall Tim Winkle, while 151 voters chose to retain him.
  • In Zone 4, 103 voters wanted to oust Marianne Blackwell, while 108 voters opted to keep her in office.

The failed recalls come after a turbulent spring in the Canyon County district, capped in May by the board’s controversial decision to not extend Middleton High School Principal Ben Merrill’s contract. McConkie and Winkle voted not to extend the contract, while Blackwell wanted the district to keep Merrill.

Since then, Superintendent Josh Middleton resigned in June, blaming unnamed elected officials of creating a “hostile work environment.” Sherawn Reberry was named new superintendent in July.

Lakeland bond issue: Failed.

The largest ballot measure of the night, a $70.9 million bond issue, lost in a landslide. Only 28 percent of voters said yes. Bond issues require a two-thirds supermajority to pass.

Anticipating an influx of 1,000 students by 2025, the North Idaho district had hoped to build a new high school, convert the existing high school into a middle school and make improvements and additions at Timberlake Junior High and Timberlake High.

Bonneville bond issue: Failed.

Voters rejected a $42.7 million bond issue to build a new elementary school and bankroll upgrades at Bonneville and Hillcrest high schools. The measure received only 40 percent support.

The East Idaho district is among the fastest growing districts in Idaho.

Oneida bond issue: Failed.

The Southeast Idaho district’s second attempt to replace Malad Elementary came up short. Tuesday’s $17.35 million proposal received 57 percent support.

In March, a smaller, $14.85 million proposal fell just short of the needed two-thirds supermajority.

Sugar-Salem bond issue: Passed.

Only one bond issue passed Tuesday, and here it is. With 78 percent backing, voters in this East Idaho district approved a $17 million bond issue to replace a junior high school built in 1954.

Filer bond issue: Failed.

In this Magic Valley district, an $8.55 million measure received only 48 percent support. The bulk of the money would have gone toward an expanded and renovated career-technical center. Voters rejected a similar, larger proposal in March.

Kellogg bond issue: Failed.

The North Idaho district took another unsuccessful run at a $7.9 million proposal for additions at Pinehurst Elementary School and Kellogg Middle School and repair projects across the district. Tuesday’s measure received 60 percent support, falling short of the two-thirds threshold. In May, a similar proposal received 63 percent support.

Shoshone bond issue: Failed.

It was the fourth time around — and a similar result — for this Magic Valley district. A $6.83 million proposal received 63 percent support, falling shy of the two-thirds threshold. Shoshone was hoping to add a new vocational building and multipurpose facility, add four classrooms and make modifications at its high school and elementary school.

Three similar bond issues had failed, most recently in March 2018.

Parma levy: Passed.

A two-year, $900,000 supplemental levy received 54 percent support, clearing the simple majority needed to pass.

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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