School elections: Vallivue bond vote too close to call, others fall short

(UPDATED, March 14, with details on Vallivue recount.)

The fate of the Vallivue School District’s bond issue is still up in the air.

The largest bond issue on Tuesday night appeared to squeak by, barely clearing the two-thirds supermajority by a scant three votes. But on Wednesday, Canyon County officials said they are planning to recount the 2,421 ballots cast.

The nailbiter in Canyon County was symptomatic of a rocky election day across the state.

All told, voters did approve $86.3 million in bond issues and $178.5 million in school levies, assuming Vallivue’s bond issue withstands the recount. But from Bear Lake County to Payette, several big bond issues failed — some narrowly, some by a lopsided margin. And in North Idaho, a handful of supplemental levies fell short of the simple majority needed to pass.

All told, 48 districts sought more than $485 million in bonds and levies Tuesday. Here are the results.

Bond issues (two-thirds supermajority required)

Vallivue: A $65.3 million bond issue is headed for a recount. Based on unofficial results from Canyon County, the bond issue received 66.7 percent support, with 1,615 yes votes and 806 no votes. That would clear the two-thirds threshold by a scant three votes. But officials said they are planning to recount the ballots next week. With two middle schools over or close to capacity, Vallivue says it needs to build a third middle school, while 48-year-old Vallivue Middle School needs $10 million in renovations.

Cassia County: $56.3 million bond issue. Failed. The district sought to add 14 classrooms at Burley High School and six classrooms at Burley Junior High School and upgrade the district’s technical center, among other projects. The issue received 54 percent support.

“Looking ahead, it is clear that the facility needs of the district have not changed. Growth without additional classrooms will require some difficult decisions,” Superintendent James Shank said Tuesday night. “The board of trustees will meet March 21 and will most likely begin to discuss what actions are needed moving forward.”

Bear Lake County: $48.9 million bond issue. Failed. The district hoped to replace 81-year-old Bear Lake Middle School, add an auditorium and upgrade classrooms at Bear Lake High School and replace a 92-year-old section of Georgetown Elementary School. The measure received only 17 percent support.

Payette: $30.9 million bond issue. Failed. Payette hoped to rebuild and remodel its high school, and remodel 71-year-old Westside Elementary School would also get a remodel. The proposal received only 49 percent support.

Salmon: $25.6 million bond issue. Failed. The district hoped to build a new elementary and middle school to house 650 students in separate wings. The measure received 58 percent support.

Minidoka County: $21 million bond issue. Failed. A bond issue to upgrade security and add classrooms at several schools received 62 percent support.

Post Falls: $19 million bond issue. Passed, with 73 percent support. The bulk of the proceeds would go toward a new elementary school. Post Falls hopes a new school would alleviate crowding and allow kindergartners to remain in neighborhood schools.

Oneida: $14.85 million bond issue. Failed. A bond issue to replace an elementary school received 65.7 percent support. A bond issue for an auditorium received 56 percent support.

Filer: $9.9 million bond issue. Failed. A proposal to expand Filer’s career-technical building, add middle school classrooms and revamp the elementary school’s parking area received 63 percent support.

Murtaugh: A $2 million bond issue. Passed, with 78 percent support. Proceeds will go toward new athletic facilities.

Levies (simple majority required, except where otherwise noted)

Coeur d’Alene: Two-year, $40 million supplemental levy. Passed, with 70 percent support. This levy will bolster teacher pay, keep school resource officers and nurses on the job, and replace aging buses and outdated learning materials.

Lake Pend Oreille: Two-year, $25.4 million supplemental levy. Passed, with 56 percent support. This levy constitutes about 30 percent of the district’s budget — and, in turn, covers salaries for about a third of the district’s staff. Lake Pend Oreille has instituted all-day kindergarten and hired school resource officers with levy proceeds.

Pocatello-Chubbuck: Two-year, $18.5 million supplemental levy. This renewal was passing handily, with 74 percent support, based on incomplete results. The levy is used to cover everything from personnel and employee insurance to utilities and supplies.

Lakeland: Two-year, $17.98 million supplemental levy. Passed, with 61 percent support. The district plans to hire two additional armed guards, add safety beacons at the schools and maintain ongoing programs, such as all-day kindergarten and extracurriculars.

Idaho Falls: Two-year, $13.8 million supplemental levy. Passed, with 77 percent support. The renewed levy would be used to hire and retain teachers.

Twin Falls: Two-year, $10 million supplemental levy. Passed, with 62 percent support. The increased levy will cover textbooks and curriculum materials and security staffing, among other items.

Post Falls: Two-year, $9.9 million supplemental levy. Passed, with 74 percent support.

St. Maries: Two-year, $4.15 million supplemental levy; four-year, $2 million plant facilities levy. Both failed, with 48 and 47 percent support, respectively.

West Bonner County: Two-year, $6 million supplemental levy. Failed, with 41 percent support. The bulk of the money would cover a projected general fund shortfall. Another big-ticket item: maintaining extracurricular programs.

American Falls: Two-year, $5.5 million supplemental levy. Passed, with 59 percent support. The district plans to use the levy to launch a dual immersion program and all-day kindergarten, eliminate student fees and provide school supplies to students free of charge.

Kuna: Two-year, $5 million supplemental levy. Passed, with 56 percent support. The renewed levy will cover 20 teaching positions, continue all-day kindergarten, retain school resource officers and purchase learning materials ranging from Chromebooks to musical instruments.

Boundary County: Two-year, $4.8 million supplemental levy. Passed, with 67 percent support. The levy goes toward salaries and benefits, training and safety and security projects, among other items.

Blackfoot: Two-year, $4.55 million supplemental levy. Passed, with 77 percent support.

Fremont County: Two-year, $3 million supplemental levy. Passed, with 77 percent support.

Potlatch: One-year, $1.75 million supplemental levy. Passed, with 61 percent support.

Jerome: Two-year, $1.6 million supplemental levy. Passed, with 73 percent support.

Snake River: Two-year, $1.5 million supplemental levy. Passed, with 70 percent support.

Aberdeen: Five-year, $1.375 million plant facilities levy. Failed. This plant facilities levy required a two-thirds supermajority to pass; it received 62 percent support.

Cascade: Two-year, $1.3 million supplemental levy. Passed, with 70 percent support.

Gooding: Two-year, $1.3 million supplemental levy. Passed, with 74 percent support.

Plummer-Worley: Two-year, $1.28 million supplemental levy. Passed, with 65 percent support.

Wilder: Five-year, $1 million levy. Passed, with 53 percent support. Another run at renewing a levy for the Canyon Owyhee School Service Agency, a cooperative that provides special education and career-technical education for five rural school districts. A similar proposal failed in August.

Troy: One-year, $995,000 supplemental levy. Passed, with 80 percent support.

Genesee: One-year, $935,000 supplemental levy. Passed, with 72 percent support.

Bruneau-Grand View: Two-year, $800,000 supplemental levy. Passed, with 58 percent support.

Challis: Two-year, $800,000 supplemental levy. Passed, with 77 percent support.

Garden Valley: Two-year, $800,000 supplemental levy. Passed, with 59 percent support.

Soda Springs: One-year, $728,000 supplemental levy. Passed, with 93 percent support.

New Plymouth: Two-year, $700,000 supplemental levy. Passed, with 53 percent support.

Camas County: Two-year, $500,000 supplemental levy; two-year, $100,000 supplemental levy for music programs. Both passed, with 88 and 85 percent support, respectively.

Horseshoe Bend: Two-year, $600,000 supplemental levy. Passed, with 70 percent support.

Hansen: Two-year, $580,000 supplemental levy. Passed, with 72 percent support.

Ririe: Two-year, $580,000 supplemental levy. Passed, with 69 percent support. The district says it would use the money to maintain existing programs, boost classified salaries and build up its financial reserve.

Butte County: Two-year, $320,000 supplemental levy; two-year, $203,000 plant facilities levy. Both passed, with 87 percent support.

Clark County: Two-year, $500,000 supplemental levy. Passed, with 82 percent support.

Kamiah: One-year, $500,000 supplemental levy. Failed, with 46 percent support. The district hoped to renew a year-old levy, putting money into base operations and a variety of capital projects, including camera surveillance in the elementary and middle schools, and an electronic door-locking system.

Highland: One-year, $499,000 supplemental levy. Passed, with 73 percent support.

Grace: One-year, $300,000 supplemental levy; one-year, $150,000 plant facilities reserve fund levy. Both passed, with 56 and 58 percent support, respectively.

West Side: Five-year, $200,000 plant facilities levy; one-year, $90,000 supplemental levy. Both passed, with 80 and 79 percent support, respectively.

Idaho Education News data analyst Randy Schrader and reporter Devin Bodkin contributed to this report.

Republish this article on your website