Cassia Schools Seek $23M Facilities Levy

2013-01-29T02:00:00Z Cassia Schools Seek $23M Facilities LevyBy Julie Wootton - Twin Falls Times-News

BURLEY • The Cassia County School District is seeking renewal of a 10-year plant facilities levy, which will total nearly $23 million.

Voters will decide on the ballot measure during the March 12 election.

Money would be used for school building and maintenance projects.

“It is strictly for maintaining existing facilities and adding to existing facilities,” Superintendent Gaylen Smyer said.

Although the total amount is about $23 million, it won’t be divided equally across the 10 years and will increase each year. Smyer said the ballot will list the amount for each year.

It’s double the $10.1 million of the current plant facilities levy, which expires this year.

But Smyer said the impact to taxpayers should be “negligible” and they should see a decrease in what they’re paying now.

That’s because a 20-year school bond — which voters approved in 1996 — will be paid off in 2016.

Smyer said the school district has quality buildings, but they’re beginning to age and that means more maintenance costs.

“We have by necessity deferred a lot of maintenance projects,” he said, because there hasn’t been enough funding to take care of all needs.

Renewal of the plant facilities levy, Smyer said, would help the district move faster on building needs as well as be prepared for the unexpected.

Also, district officials are looking at safety and security upgrades at schools.

Smyer said they’re working with the Cassia County Sheriff’s Office to look at recommendations for each school.

“Some of the money would be used to address some of those concerns,” he said.

For instance, district officials are looking at options for different school door locks to control access to buildings.

Funding would also be used to install automated external defibrillators — which are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest — in schools and places such as gymnasiums where students and community members congregate.

Five other south-central Idaho school districts — Twin Falls, Jerome, Gooding, Hansen and Camas County — also plan to go to voters in March with ballot measures.

Copyright 2015 Twin Falls Times-News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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