It’s no secret that operating a school district is expensive.
All of us who own property in Pocatello and Chubbuck chip in to make public education possible in these parts.
And despite the current effort to recall three of Pocatello-Chubbuck School District 25’s trustees, we must not lose sight that there’s a lot going right with our local public school system.
Even a recent column by recall organizer Jesse Ward highlighted the great job being done by the district’s teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The district’s teachers, students and parents all deserve high marks for the sacrifices made to weather the coronavirus storm.
So when voters cast their ballots on March 9 to decide the fate of District 25’s supplemental levy, we’d like them to not punish the district and those it employs and serves for any top leadership issues.
That being said, the supplemental levy has been approved by the district’s voters for the past 60 years and the district’s current leadership deserves credit for keeping the levy amount — $9.25 million — the same for the past six years.
There aren’t many things that haven’t increased in price since 2015. School District 25’s supplemental levy is one of them.
If passed by a majority of voters on March 9, the levy will provide District 25 with $9.25 million in annual funding for the next two years. People who own property in the district will fund the levy, but because of the district’s decreasing levy rate, the annual amount paid will decrease if the levy’s approved by voters.
If the levy passes by a majority vote, district property owners will pay $192.20 annually per $100,000 of taxable property value, compared to $204.30 during the current school year.
If you’re planning to vote against the levy, you can expect School District 25 to be much less of a public school system as a result.
The current levy’s funds have been used to operate the district’s 22 schools, provide modern security systems for those schools to keep the district’s 12,000 students and over 1,700 staff members safe, provide the district’s students with not only academic instruction but a plethora of programs from fine arts to athletics, pay for textbooks and other instructional materials, and help foot the bill for unexpected expenses such as providing kids with an education during a global pandemic.
The vast majority of us received a fully funded public education when we were younger. Everything about that education we received in the classroom, from the teacher’s salary to our textbooks to the cost to operate the school building itself, was paid for by taxpayers.
On March 9 it’s our turn as a community to return the favor.
Recalls aside, we strongly encourage voters to support District 25 in its efforts to educate our children.