Roundup: May school elections across Idaho

Seventeen rural school districts will decide the fate of school bond issues and levies on May 21.

The May election date is one of four windows for schools to run elections.

And three of the largest questions on the ballot — a $21 million Minidoka County bond issue and supplemental levies in West Bonner County and St. Maries — are repeats from unsuccessful elections in March.

All told, schools are seeking about $53.9 million in bond issues and levies. Here’s the rundown:

Minidoka County: A $21 million bond issue. The money would go toward a long list of projects, including six new classrooms at Paul Elementary School and West Minico Middle School; six classrooms and a gym at Heyburn Elementary School; two classrooms at Mt. Harrison High School; and front entrance security projects at several schools.

An identical bond issue received 62 percent support in March, but fell short of the two-thirds supermajority needed to pass.

“We heard a lot of feedback after the bond failed that people thought the bond was going to pass anyway so there was no need for them to go out and vote,” Superintendent Ken Cox told the Twin Falls Times-News recently.

The bond issue would increase property taxes by $50 per $100,000 of taxable value.

Kellogg: A $7.9 million bond issue. The North Idaho district hopes to use bond proceeds to build additions to Pinehurst Elementary School and Kellogg Middle School and work on repairs and safety and technology upgrades throughout the district. The district says the bond issue would increase property taxes by $53 per $100,000 of taxable value.

West Bonner County: Two-year, $6 million supplemental levy. The levy accounts for about 25 percent of the district’s budget, paying for all-day kindergarten, a school resource officer, classroom curriculum and extracurricular activities. An identical levy has been on the books since 2013, but a two-year renewal failed in March. Supplemental levies require a simple majority to pass.

St. Maries: Two-year, $4.15 million supplemental levy. District officials say the levy covers all-day kindergarten, extracurriculars and transportation, and allows the North Idaho district to hire staff to reduce overall class sizes. An identical levy has been on the books since 2015, but a proposal to renew the levy failed in March.

Mountain View: One-year, $3.09 million supplemental levy. Facing a range of challenges — including a projected shortfall of up to $2 million, and tense labor negotiations that have triggered a pair of lawsuits — next week’s proposal could increase local tax collections.

Voters approved a two-year, $6.2 million levy in March 2018, but the district decided against collecting the full amount. Levy collections have remained at $2.66 million for the past six years.

Emmett: Two-year, $3 million supplemental levy. An increase from the two-year, $2.8 million levy voters approved in 2017.

Swan Valley: five-year, $2.1 million plant facilities levy. The bulk of the money would go toward expanding the school’s gym and upgrading the heating system. The levy needs a 55 percent majority to pass.

Kootenai: Two-year, $1.5 million supplemental levy. An identical levy has been in place since 2017.

Bear Lake County: Two-year, $1.3 million supplemental levy. A reduction from the two-year, $1.5 million levy voters approved in March 2017. However, this election comes only two months after voters overwhelmingly rejected a $48.9 million bond issue.

Whitepine: One-year, $880,000 supplemental levy. A renewal of an existing levy.

Salmon River: One-year, $525,000 supplemental levy. An identical levy has been on the books for two years.

Cambridge: Five-year, $500,000 plant facilities levy. The levy, which could be used for building repairs or land acquisition, requires 55 percent approval.

Nezperce: One-year, $445,000 supplemental levy. A renewal of an existing supplemental levy.

Hagerman: Two-year, $400,000 supplemental levy. An increase from the two-year, $300,000 levy voters approved in 2017.

Sugar-Salem: Two-year, $400,000 supplemental levy. The district has collected an identical levy for the past two years.

Meadows Valley: Two-year, $378,000 supplemental levy. An increase from the two-year, $306,000 levy voters approved two years ago.

Cottonwood: One-year, $325,000 supplemental levy. A renewal of a levy already in place.

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