Jerome High School dedication

A crop duster flies overhead during a dedication ceremony in August 2016 for a major remodeling project at Jerome High School.

DREW NASH, TIMES-NEWS FILE PHOTO

JEROME — Three months from now, Jerome voters will decide whether to renew a levy for school maintenance.

The Jerome School District is seeking a 10-year plant facilities levy during the March 2018 election. The school board approved the move Tuesday.

If approved, taxpayer money would be used for school building-related expenses. It can’t be used for salaries and benefits and is separate from the school district’s general fund.

The district will seek $650,000 annually for the first five years and $700,000 annually for the next five years.

“That’s just really to account for inflation, basically,” Jerome Superintendent Dale Layne said Thursday.

The measure requires 60 percent approval. If voters give it a thumbs up, the tax rate is expected to remain steady.

A plant facilities levy isn’t anything new for the Jerome School District. It has been in place for about 40 years, but the dollar amount has fluctuated.

Money would be used for projects such as replacing roofing, upgrading high school plumbing, security updates such as adding a vestibule at school front entrances to direct visitors to the office, energy efficiency upgrades, replacing windows and HVAC systems, and resealing parking lots.

Plus, the Jerome district is looking for land to purchase, Layne said. It would be used in the future for a new school to accommodate growth in student numbers.

A timeline hasn’t been finalized for either the land purchase or when a new school could open.

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Jerome has 4,027 students in preschool through 12th grades. For the past five years, the district has grown by about 100 students per year.

In addition to the existing plant facilities levy — which voters approved in 2008 — the district has a two-year, $650,000 annual supplemental levy used to help cover basic operating expenses.

Voters also approved a nearly $24 million bond in 2014. The bulk of the money was used at Jerome High School to build a second gymnasium, new cafeteria, new science, art and drama classrooms, a new administrative office, renovate the auditorium, add new classrooms and revamp parking lots.

The bond paid for work at four other Jerome campuses, too, including new classrooms, revamped parking and drop-off areas, fire sprinkler upgrades and a new roof.

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