Kuna trustees agreed to ask voters for a $5.3 million levy

Kuna School District will ask voters in May to approve a $5.3 million supplemental levy for learning needs, safety issues and critical maintenance.

“We’re going to be short $5 million dollars,” said JD Grant, school board vice chairman, during Tuesday’s regular board meeting.

But a long-awaited decision about bonding to pay for facility expansions and constructing new schools in response to growing enrollment was placed on hold. Kuna is one of the fastest growing districts in the Treasure Valley.

Trustees did not take up the issue of when a new bond proposal would be introduced, after last year’s $111.4 million bond election failed at the polls. If passed in March 2023, it would have added a new elementary school, a classroom wing and athletic facilities at Swan Falls High School, and renovations at Fremont and Kuna middle schools. Another attempt at a bond proposal could happen on election dates in November of 2024 or May of 2025.

“You said you want more input, this would give us some time to do that,” said Superintendent Wendy Johnson, who resigned on Tuesday to accept a position with Boise schools.

Instead, board trustees approved the levy for operational needs — maintenance repairs, retaining teachers, curriculum and maintaining safety.

They voted 4-1 in favor of a May 21 levy in the amount of $5.3 million, collected over a two-year period. 

“If we got a million dollars from the governor’s allocation for next year, we wouldn’t have to levy $5.3 million. We would levy $4.3 million, but we don’t know when it’s gonna happen,” Johnson said.

Johnson presented two options. Both would collect the same amount from taxpayers – $5.3 million. But one will dip into the district’s fund balance for $2.5 million and one will cut the budget by $2.5 million.

Trustees opted to tap into the fund balance (estimated at $7 million) to avoid budget cuts.

If Gov. Brad Little obtains additional facility funds for districts, Kuna trustees plan to revisit the proposed $5.3 million levy to reduce the burden on Kuna taxpayers.

Kim Bekkedahl

Supplemental levy funds are earmarked for maintaining the following items:

  • Fifteen general education teachers and a CTE teacher.
  • Current curriculum and technology resources.
  • School resource officers, safety aides and behavior specialists.
  • New roofs for Reed and Hubbard schools.
  • Fire alarm systems for four schools.
  • HVAC replacements at three schools.
  • Technology hardware and software.
  • Three new school buses

In other business, the board accepted Johnson’s resignation, effective June 30. She accepted a position next school year as an area director with the Boise School District. The board appointed Kim Bekkedahl to serve as interim superintendent for the 2024-25 school year while the district conducts its search. Bekkedahl is the district’s assistant superintendent.

Darren Svan

Darren Svan

Reporter Darren Svan has a background in both journalism and education. Prior to working for military schools at overseas installations, he was news editor at several publications in Wyoming and Colorado. You can send news tips to [email protected].

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