Community Blog: The EDge

State moving, gradually, to repair aging Salmon schools

The state is stepping in to bankroll $3.6 million in repairs to two aging Salmon schools.

But don’t expect the actual work to begin until next spring.

On Thursday, the State Board of Education selected Hayden-based Teater Consulting to oversee the work — replacing roofs at Salmon Middle School and Pioneer Elementary School. Project planning will take the summer and fall, and the roofs will be replaced in the spring of 2014.

This work has been a long time coming anyway.

Salmon voters have rejected building bond issues nine times over eight years. In May, the district lost twice; a $14.6 million bond issue to replace the schools and a $3.6 million roof repair bond issue both failed to receive even a simple majority, much less the two-thirds supermajority required to pass a bond issue.

Earlier this month, the state formalized its plan to finance the roof repairs, floating a loan that district patrons will be required to pay back. This plan isn’t popular with Salmon school officials, who question the logic of paying for extensive repairs at the middle school, built in 1938, and Pioneer, built in 1958.

The state-financed repair is an unusual step; Idaho lawmakers have long left school construction and building finance to local districts and taxpayers. The is only the second time the state has stepped in to finance school building repairs.

Kevin Richert is a reporter and blogger at Idaho Education News (idahoednews.org). Kevin is a former Statesman editorial page editor, with 27 year's experience in Idaho journalism.

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