Pocatello, Middleton, Nampa approve multimillion-dollar ballot measures

School boards across the state approved a slew of million-dollar asks for the November election. These bonds and levies, if approved by voters, will go to fund school renovations, salaries, sports and more.

Here’s the latest in districts’ November election asks.

Pocatello approves bond ask for Highland restoration

Pocatello voters will see a $45 million bond measure on their ballots this November, following a vote from the school board Tuesday evening. The bond is the district’s plan to fund the restoration of Highland High School, which took significant damage from a structural fire in April.

The $45 million proposal is a 15-year bond. The expected tax burden is $37 per $100,000 in taxable value. However, according to the approved bond resolution, the district expects a property tax relief payment in excess of the annual bond payment, bringing the estimated burden down to $0.

The district’s existing levy would likely still cost local taxpayers.

The proposed bond would fund renovations and enhancements to Highland High, which lost its gymnasium, music and orchestra rooms, and cafeteria in the April fire. Highland is currently operating, but with the fire damage, the district had to instate some workarounds, including moving some classes off campus and reorganizing the front end of the school to create a makeshift cafeteria space.

The bond would cover repairs for damaged facilities, construction costs, expansions and enhancements to the gymnasium and auditorium, and additions and improvements to the gym.

District trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to float the bond measure on the Nov. 7 ballot.

Nampa, Middleton voters will see supplemental levy asks

On Aug. 30, Nampa trustees approved a $29.56 million supplemental levy for voters consideration in November. The proposal would cover a range of district costs, from salaries to technology costs to sports complexes.

The levy proposal would cost taxpayers $14.78 million per year for two years, averaging to about $72 per $100,000 in taxable value annually. It would replace and up the district’s existing levy, which is currently costs taxpayers $59 per $100,000.

If approved, the measure would cover:

  • $3,300,000 in continued salaries
  • $1,200,000 in supplemental salaries
  • $2 million in curriculum costs
  • $2 million in technology costs
  • $2 million in maintenance projects
  • $1.5 million for football turf
  • $1 million for tennis/track
  • $600,000 for activities
  • $500,000 for security costs
  • $350,000 for transportation
  • $150,000 for early childhood education

The Middleton School District will also float a two-year, $3 million supplemental levy this November to keep up with staff, curriculum and maintenance costs. District trustees approved the levy with a unanimous vote at Monday night’s meeting.

The district last passed a supplemental levy in 2022.

The proposed levy is slated to cost district taxpayers $1.5 million per year for two years — averaging to about $38 per $100,000 in taxable value. If passed, the measure would replace the district’s current supplemental levy, which expires in June 2024, and also costs $38 per $100,000.

The levy would run from July 2024 to June 2026.

According to the district’s resolution, the $3 million ask would fund a range of district costs, from classified staff to extracurriculars. Here’s how it would be parceled out:

  • $500,000 for curriculum adoption
  • $386,000 for certified teachers
  • $354,000 for classified staff
  • $100,000 for building maintenance
  • $80,000 for a school resource officer
  • $45,000 for pay to participate activities
  • $35,000 for transportation

And Nicholas Miller of Boise law firm Hawley Troxell, outlined the levy in a legal context for trustees Monday night.

After the 2023 Legislature nixed the March school election, one of four annual dates available for districts to float bonds and levies, Middleton decided to expedite its levy election, which it would normally hold in March. If it fails, Miller said, the district can try again in May or August, but there are concerns that the August date could be put on the chopping block as well.

“We’re doing the right thing to move this up to the November date,” Miller said.

Miller also assured trustees that the levy proposal complies with a legislative requirement to outline specific uses for the levy money, and reminded district officials that advocating for a levy is against the law — districts are limited to providing informational materials only.

The district will hold informational sessions about the levy in the coming months. More information can be viewed in Monday’s board documents.

The election will be held Nov. 7.

Boise School Board swears in new trustee

Boise trustees swore in Paul Bennion as the board’s newest trustee Monday night.

Bennion was selected from a pool of nine applicants to fill a seat left by former trustee Andy Hawes, who vacated his position in July.

Bennion is the Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students at the College of Idaho. He has had three kids attend Boise schools — two have graduated and one currently attends Boise High School.

Bennion’s seat will be up for reelection in 2024.

Sadie Dittenber

Sadie Dittenber

Reporter Sadie Dittenber focuses on K-12 policy and politics. She is a College of Idaho graduate, born and raised in the Treasure Valley. You can follow Sadie on Twitter @sadiedittenber and send her news tips at [email protected].

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