Valley districts seek $43.1 million in levies

March 11 is shaping up to be a $43.1 million election day — and that’s just in the Treasure Valley.

Several Southwest Idaho districts will take supplemental levy requests to voters on March 11, the first of four election dates open to school elections.

Here’s the rundown.

Meridian: Idaho’s largest school district is seeking to renew a two-year, $28 million levy.

The School Board’s Tuesday night vote comes as no surprise. Facing rising enrollment and dwindling budget reserves, district officials had hinted that they would seek to at least renew the existing supplemental levy.

The current supplemental levy costs $115.64 per $100,000 of taxable property value, the Idaho Statesman reported Wednesday. That amount might change a bit, but district officials haven’t yet calculated the difference.

This year shapes up to be a crucial election year in Meridian; as we reported in December, the district is also looking at running a building bond issue in August.

Nampa: The district is running its third supplemental levy since August 2012: a two-year, $3.39 million levy.

The state’s third largest district says it will erase a $5.1 million shortfall this budget year. But the district is still dealing with the effects of a prolonged financial crisis, imposing 14 furlough days this school year. District officials say the March 11 levy would allow the district to add back these 14 contract days.

The School Board voted Tuesday 4-1 to pursue the $3.39 million levy, the Idaho Press-Tribune reported Wednesday, with trustee Brian McGourty favoring a lower levy. Trustee Mike Fuller suggested the district double its levy request to $6.8 million, but he ultimately backed the lower amount.

Two existing supplemental levies, totaling $7.5 million, will expire this year. (Here’s some backstory on the Nampa levy issue.)

Vallivue: Seeking a two-year, $4.5 million levy. “We’ve found that it would be really hard for the district to get by without (this levy),” Trustee Jeff Hon said, according to the Press-Tribune. “It’s a critical part of the district’s funding.”

Kuna: Seeking to extend a two-year, $3.19 million levy. The district has used the money to pay for 71 employees and six school days, according to the Statesman.

Caldwell: Seeking to renew a two-year, $2.75 million levy.

“We’ve cut administrative positions, we’ve done all kinds of things the public would expect us to do,” Superintendent Tim Rosandick told the Idaho Press-Tribune. “But we still have schools to operate, we still have expectations to deliver quality instruction to our kids. So the supplemental levy is anything but supplemental. It’s critical.”

Middleton: Seeking to renew a $1.31 million levy.

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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