BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Voters across the state passed nearly 20 school bonds or levies to pay for everything from new schools to operating costs.
Voters in the Joint West Ada School District in southwest Idaho approved the largest bond on Tuesday — $96 million to build two new middle schools and an elementary school.
“Our parents mobilized,” said Linda Clark, district superintendent, about getting 71.6 percent of the vote. “We had lots and lots of help.”
One of the few losses occurred in eastern Idaho where voters rejected a $56.1 million bond sought by Bonneville Joint School District 93 to build a third high school to reduce the district’s overcrowding problem.
“It’s disappointing,” Superintendent Chuck Shackett said. “We went out quite a bit with this plan. It was really based on what the community wanted and it really showed in the election. It’s just unfortunate you need two-thirds majority. We got less than 1 percent less than that.”
The measure was supported by 65.72 percent of those who voted, but it needed 66.67 percent. A group called “Vote No District 93 Bond” opposed the bond, saying school overcrowding could be solved without raising taxes.
At the Vallivue School District in southwest Idaho, voters passed a $28 million bond to build a new elementary school and upgrade five other schools. The bond received 69 percent of the vote.
“It looks like we squeaked by, but I am very happy with that,” Vallivue Superintendent Pat Charlton said.
In northern Idaho, voters in Post Falls passed a $19.5 million facility bond to build a new elementary school and add a second story to a middle school. It received 80 percent approval.
“I couldn’t be happier,” Post Falls School District Superintendent Jerry Keane said. “It’s a real tribute to our community. Their support for our schools has been unbending over the years.”
In addition, Post Falls voters agreed to a two-year levy to collect up to $4.7 million a year.
The Coeur d’Alene School District also received approval from voters to increase the annual school levy by $2 million to $15 million.
“We as a district are absolutely grateful to the community for the support they continue to show us and the willingness of the electorate to continue to provide us with the tools that we need that go above and beyond what the state and federal government provide us,” School Board Chairwoman Christa Hazel said.
In south-central Idaho, voters in the Cassia County Joint School District approved a $36.95 million bond for school repairs. Voters had rejected three previous bond attempts.
“We are very appreciative of the support,” Cassia County district spokeswoman Debbie Critchfield said.
About $6.25 million will be used to build a new junior and senior high school.