On Tuesday, voters rejected more than 70 percent of the bond and levy asks made by school districts across the state.
Forty-one school districts asked for more than $1 billion in taxes from local voters to help balance district expense sheets and pay for fundamental educational needs that the State of Idaho refuses to pay despite their constitutional obligation to do so. Voters only approved $247 million.
“Tuesday’s election highlights the broken education funding system Idaho policymakers refuse to fix,” said IEA President Layne McInelly. “Each year, Idaho school districts are forced to ask local taxpayers for hundreds of millions of dollars in funding above and beyond their state and federal appropriations — and with mixed results, as we saw on Tuesday, that exacerbates inequity. IEA members support an equitable public school finance system that funds a free, quality public education for every Idaho child no matter where they live.”
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According to the Idaho Education News, five of seven bonds failed Tuesday night, falling short of Idaho’s notably high two-thirds supermajority threshold for approval.
Supplemental levies, which generally require a lower approval threshold to pass, were more successful throughout the state. However, the night’s biggest ticket item — Coeur d’Alene’s permanent, $25 million-a-year supplemental levy — failed with 49% support, just missing the needed simple majority. It was one of two razor-thin losses for Coeur d’Alene students, educators and public schools.
According to IEN, Coeur d’Alene Superintendent Shon Hocker was in a state of shock on Wednesday morning and processing what the losses mean for his schools, staff, and students.
“I almost just don’t have any words,” Hocker told IEN. “We certainly did not expect to win by a landslide, but I don’t think anybody expected the results that ended up happening.”