Tuesday’s school levy pricetag: $107.8 million

Voters in 36 Idaho school districts approved $107.8 million in school levies Tuesday night.

Four levies and one bond issue failed.

The results come as the Legislature is considering school budgets for 2012-13 and 2013-14. A pair of competing bills to cut the personal property tax on business supplies and equipment: a partial repeal costing $18 million to $19 million, and a full repeal that could eventually total up to $120 million.

A few headlines from around the state:

The biggest winner. The Coeur d’Alene School District. Voters approved a two-year, $27 million levy.  “I’m pretty happy,” Superintendent Hazel Bauman told the Spokane Spokesman-Review. “It’s absolutely a wonderful blessing to have a community so supportive.”

A repeat winner. The cash-strapped Nampa School District. Voters approved a one-year, $4.3 million levy designed to erase a nagging deficit. Voters had approved a two-year, $3.2 million levy in August; a month later, the district pegged the deficit at $4.3 million. “Obviously passing the levy was extremely important, however, it’s also about rallying support for the next steps, and where the district has the opportunity to go,” parent and volunteer Molly Lenty told the Idaho Press-Tribune Tuesday night.

A newbie — and a near newbie. Voters in the Snake River School District approved their first-ever supplemental levy. Ririe voters said yes to the district’s first levy since 1932.

Easy wins. Generally speaking, school levies need only a simple majority to pass. In many districts, it wasn’t even close. Twenty-seven levies passed with 60 percent of more of the vote. Fourteen shattered the 70 percent plateau.

A narrow defeat. The Magic Valley’s Hansen School District had the heartbreaker of the night, seeing a levy fail by just four votes. “We’ll just have to get back together with the board, process it and see how we want to move forward,” Superintendent Susan Scherz told the Times-News.

Oh-for-eight. Salmon School District voters rejected a $14.6 million bond for a school to house kindergartners through eighth-graders. It’s the eighth time Salmon voters have said no to a bond issue in as many years.

Statewide results

North Idaho (sources: Spokane Spokesman-Review and Coeur d’Alene Press)

  • Coeur d’Alene: two years, $27 million. Approved, 66 percent.
  • Lake Pend Oreille: two years, $15.7 million. Approved, 57 percent.
  • Post Falls: two years, $8.5 million. Approved, 68 percent.
  • Boundary County: two years, $2.8 million. Approved, 56 percent.
  • Kootenai Joint School District: two years, $2.4 million. Approved, 56 percent.
  • St. Maries: two years, $1.84 million. Failed, 48 percent.

Northcentral Idaho (source: Lewiston Tribune)

  • Potlatch: one year, $1.5 million. Approved, 50.2 percent.
  • Genesee: one year, $935,000. Approved, 68 percent.
  • Kendrick: one year, $825,000. Approved, 67 percent.
  • Highland: one year, $499,000. Approved, 54 percent.

Southwest Idaho (sources: Idaho Statesman, Idaho Press-Tribune, KTVB)

  • Nampa: one year, $4.3 million. Approved, 73.5 percent.
  • Payette: two years, $1.39 million. Approved, 64 percent.
  • Cascade: two years, $1 million. Approved, 71 percent.
  • Horseshoe Bend: two years, $600,000. Approved, 55 percent.
  • New Meadows: two years, $190,000. Approved, 87 percent.
  • Middleton: 10 years, $2.5 million. Failed, 60 percent (required two-thirds support to pass).

Magic Valley (sources: Times-News, Twin Falls, KTVB)

  • Twin Falls: two years, $9 million. Approved, 66 percent.
  • Jerome: two years, $1.3 million. Approved, 67 percent.
  • Gooding: two years, $510,000. Approved, 53 percent.
  • Camas County: two years, $200,000. Approved, 86 percent.
  • Camas County: two years, $50,000, for arts programs. Approved, 88 percent.
  • Cassia County: $23 million plant facilities levy. Failed, 48 percent (required 55 percent support to pass).
  • Hansen: two years, $380,000. Failed, 49 percent.

Southeast Idaho (source: Idaho State Journal)

  • Pocatello/Chubbuck: two years, $8.5 million. Approved, 60 percent.
  • Blackfoot: two years, $1.975 million. Approved, 72 percent.
  • Snake River: two years, $900,000. Approved, 60 percent.
  • Bear Lake: two years, $800,000. Approved, 63 percent.
  • Soda Springs, two years, $798,000. Approved, 71 percent.
  • Aberdeen: one year, $675,000. Approved, 59 percent.
  • American Falls: two years, $660,000. Approved, 68 percent.
  • Grace: two years, $300,000. Approved, 83 percent.
  • North Gem: two years, $200,000. Approved, 83 percent.
  • West Side: one year, $90,000. Approved, 88 percent.

Eastern Idaho (source: Post Register, Idaho Falls)

  • Idaho Falls: two years, $6.8 million. Approved, 79 percent.
  • Teton: two years, $3.1 million. Approved, 67 percent.
  • Bonneville: two years, $3 million. Approved, 75 percent.
  • Challis: two years, $400,000. Approved, 54 percent.
  • Ririe: two years, $385,000. Approved, 63 percent.
  • Butte: two years, $160,000. Approved, 76 percent.
  • Butte: two-year, $65,000 plant facilities levy. Approved, 77 percent.
  • Mackay: two years, $150,000. Approved, 65 percent.
  • Clark County: two years, $150,000. Approved, 61 percent.
  • Salmon: $14.6 million bond issue. Failed, 40 percent (required two-thirds majority to pass).

More reading: Check the EDge blog to connect the dots between Tuesday’s levy results and the personal property tax debate.

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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