BOISE -- The majority of school districts in southern Idaho are using tax levies to pay their bills. And in the upcoming May elections, a few more will be trying to do the same.
The superintendents we talked to say it's tough to ask any more of taxpayers in these lean times. But they also say they've already cut school budgets to the bone, and they don't want these levies, they need them.
In the western part of the Treasure Valley, seven school districts are asking for a little more help from voters and taxpayers after already making deep cuts to staff, facilities, and activities.
In Emmett, district leaders want to increase a current levy up to $1.5 million annually. If you own a $150,000 home, it will cost you about $50 more per year in property taxes.
In Fruitland, they hope a levy that passed in Payette a few months ago is a good sign for their $495,000 levy. That would mean an estimated $86 more per year on a $150,000 home.
Over in Homedale, they're asking for a $484,100 levy. If you own a $150,000 home, you'd pay an estimated $193 more per year in taxes.
Over in Parma, they're looking to increase a current levy up to $350,000. That would mean another $35 per year for a $150,000 home. Again, that's an estimate. Your county assessor can tell you your exact taxable property value.
Meanwhile, a Salmon River levy is a continuation. It's worth $545,000, but won't raise taxes if it's passed.
Also, COSSA levies in Parma and Wilder won't raise taxes. Those pay for a co-operative vocational school.
In the Vallivue School District, they're asking for a $50 million bond to pay for, mostly, a new high school. Officials estimate a cost of about $53 per year on a $150,000 home. But Vallivue's superintendent says it's worth it. We feel that's pretty reasonable for what they're going to get, said Dr. Pat Charlton.
Charlton says the new school is needed to split the growing student body at Vallivue High, which is over-capacity. If we didn't pass it, we really don't have a lot of options, beyond turning our high school into a mega-high school of 2,400 kids just three years down the road from now.
In order for that Vallivue levy to pass, they need a super-majority. That's two-thirds of voters. Charlton says it will be close.
Election day is right around the corner on May 21st.
For more on what you can expect when you head to the polls, check out our voter guide, complete with polling locations, sample ballots, and more.