PAYETTE, Idaho — Results from the Payette Joint School District bond vote didn’t go the way the district was hoping for.
Officials with the district are now looking into what might come next. On Tuesday, a majority of voters said "no" to the $30,950,000 funding request. That would have paid for rebuilding and renovating Payette High School, as well as projects in other schools.
Only 49 percent of voters approved the bond. It needed a two-thirds majority, or 66.67 percent of the vote to pass.
"We are here educating our kids and doing the best we can do for them,” said Robin Gilbert, superintendent of the school district. "The problem doesn't go away; the sun came up this morning but sometimes it doesn't feel like it yet."
The bond would have brought major changes to the high school, including rebuilding the gym, renovating other areas, and adding new classrooms.
"Short term, we have students here that need a facility," school board chair Adam Rynearson said. "Long term, we're looking at the next 30,40,50,60 years. Payette needs a high school."
Both Rynearson and Gilbert said the district and bond committee had received mostly positive feedback to the bond question leading up to the election.
“The committee really felt that they had a direct plan and so last night was pretty shocking and pretty devastating in a lot of ways,” Gilbert said.
They can't pinpoint what had the majority of voters rejecting the bond, but the tax increase could have been a part of it.
“No doubt about it, for some voters a tax increase is always a concern and it's a concern of ours as well,” Rynearson said. "There are problems on multiple levels, from foundation to the roof including plumbing and electrical."
If the request had passed, homeowners in the district would have seen their taxes increase by $22.00 a month for a home assessed at $150,000 with a homeowner's deduction.
“We are here educating our kids and doing the best we can do for them,” Gilbert said. "We have a fabulous maintenance department and we will prioritize what needs to be taken care of.”
School boards can try to pass bonds four times a year. This means they could come back to the voters again in May, August or November, or wait until sometime next year. If the district decides to go this route, the superintendent said they would do surveys of the community to figure out why it failed.
They plan on talking about what to do next at the school board's next meeting on Monday night.