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Tough decisions ahead for Wilder School District after bond and levy fail

Voters shot down a levy and a bond on Tuesday.

WILDER — The Wilder School District says something has to give after a bond and levy were shot down on Tuesday by voters.

Three school districts in our area asked for support this week. Parma won support, but Middleton and Wilder are back to the drawing board.

MORE: What's next for Middleton School District after bond fails again?

Wilder Superintendent Jeff Dillon says they asked for help from the community with a levy that would have continued to fund the district's participation in the Canyon Owhyee School Service Agency, or COSSA.

"Our COSSA levy helps the district meet our special education needs," said Dillon. "You have to make sure you meet the needs of those children. That money will come from somewhere."

COSSA also provides career-technical training and alternative programs for students. The levy required a simple majority to pass but only received support from 39 percent of voters.

"Now we have to go back and think about if we don't have the monies how are we going to make this work," said Dillon.

Also given the thumbs down by Wilder residents on Tuesday was a $5 million bond that needed two-thirds in favor. It only received 39 percent. The bond would have paid for a new building for the district's cafeteria and kitchen. It would also house a vocational agriculture program.

The current structure was built in the 1940s and Dillon says it's horribly overcrowded. The cafeteria is open for two hours to get 500 kids fed. Students only have 10 minutes to eat. Dillon says there's also the bathroom issue.

"There's one commode," said Dillon. "It's not like we have a restroom with four stalls in it. It's one. So we have kids that can't make it. They can't wait. So we're asking parents to come down with a change of clothes."

Dillon says it's an embarrassing situation for everyone involved. He says the district understands taxpayers want to see lower taxes, but in this case they would not have gone up with the bond or the levy.

"We came to the table with a need," said Dillon. "To meet the needs of our students, but meet the needs of the patrons because we weren't going to raise any taxes to make it happen. We were able to do it with the growth we're having in our district."

The Wilder School Board will meet in September to figure out what to do next, including going back to voters in November.

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