School districts relying on voters to approve levies

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School districts relying on voters to approve levies

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by Justin Corr

Bio | Email | Follow: @JCorrKTVB

KTVB.COM

Posted on May 7, 2012 at 5:25 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 12 at 6:24 PM

BOISE -- The primary elections in Idaho will be held on May 15, and for many voters there will also be a school levy on your ballot.

Vallivue School District is just one of the school districts across southern Idaho putting a levy on the ballot.

Vallivue has the largest levy in the area.  They're asking for $4.5 million per year for two years. This wouldn't mean an increase in taxes, this is a continuation of the levy already in place.

Middleton's levy is also a continuation.  A levy vote in March failed, but the district is trying again just two months later.

Melba, like Middleton, says it's already made cuts, but need $275,000 levy for one year to avoid deeper cuts.  That's a continuation too, but less than the current $400,000 levy.

Horseshoe Bend also just had a levy fail. But it's trying again as well.

Salmon River, like every school asking for a levy, cites state cuts for public education as a reason it needs a $545,000 levy.  That's a continuation that will actually mean a decrease in taxes, just like in Mountain Home, where the district is asking for $100,000 less than the previous two years levies.

"Times are hard right now and everybody's struggling for those taxes," said Mountain Home School District Superintendent Tim McMurtrey.  "So we wanted to keep those taxes down and lower. But at the same point, we have to operate the district."

Over in the Magic Valley, there's six more levy elections.

Wendell and Castleford want continuation levies, which means no taxes would go up.  They say teacher positions will be cut if the levy fails.

That's also why Filer is calling for $500,000 for two years to avoid laying off teachers.

Also looking to avoid cuts, is Richfield. While Shoshone and Valley are both asking for continuations of their levies.  Valley School District is putting two levies on the ballot.

"It only means we stay in business or go out of business," said Valley School District Superintendent Arlyn Bodily.  "The supplemental, if it doesn't pass, I don't know what they'll do."

Bodily says that while he's confident those continuation levies will pass, if they don't, they'll have to cut teachers, activities, and maybe even start sending students to Jerome.

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