Community Blog: The EDge

Tuesday’s school election price tag: $130.2 million statewide

Voters across Idaho said yes to at least $130.2 million in school bond issues and levies Tuesday night. Meanwhile, two big school districts will see some School Board shakeups.

Among Tuesday’s headlines:

  • Voters in Canyon County’s rapidly growing Vallivue School District said yes to a $50 million bond issue. The bond issue received a 75 percent yes vote, well over the two-thirds majority needed to pass. The bulk of the money will go toward building a second high school. (Details from the Idaho Press-Tribune.)
  • Lewiston voters approved a five-year renewal of a tax levy that accounts for 29 percent of the district’s budget. The value of the levy varies based on property value, but it was worth $10.2 million in 2012-13 — which means a five-year extension could easily be worth $51 million or more. The levy received a 86 percent landslide, according to the Lewiston Tribune.
  • Two newcomers will get a shot at guiding the beleaguered Nampa School District out of a $5.1 million deficit. Mike Fuller trounced incumbent Dale Wheeler, and Brian McGourty won an open race to succeed retiring board President Scott Kido. Retired teacher Bob Otten was re-elected to the board.
  • In a series of School Board elections with partisan overtones, Coeur d’Alene voters ousted two incumbents who were backed by the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans: Brent Regan and Ann Seddon. Christa Hazel defeated Regan and Dave Eubanks unseated Seddon. Tom Hearn took an open board seat. The winners were backed by a political action committee called Balance North Idaho. (Details from the Spokane Spokesman-Review.)
  • In Salmon, voters rejected a pair of bond issues to replace, or repair, aging elementary and middle schools. They rejected a $14.6 million bond issue to replace the schools, and a $3.6 million bond issue for roof repairs; both needed a two-thirds majority, and according to the Post Register, neither received even a simple majority. Tuesday was the ninth time voters rejected a school bond. It’s now likely that the state will loan the district money for the roof repairs — and patrons will have to pay off the debt.
  • The second time around was kinder to two school districts, where voters approved levies they had rejected in March. St. Maries approved a two-year, $3.7 million levy, while Hansen approved a two-year, $190,000 levy.

For a statewide tally, go to my story at Idaho Education News.

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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