It’s that time of the year again.
Voters will head to the polls Tuesday to decide whether to pass school ballot measures in 10 districts.
In a perfect world, lawmakers in Boise would overhaul Idaho’s education funding formula, so school districts wouldn’t have to come back and ask taxpayers for additional money each year. But they still haven’t, so schools still do.
And since that’s the case, we urge voters to turn out and vote yes for school ballot measures.
These levies are not for frills, bells or whistles. They’re to ensure school maintenance is kept up and that schools won’t need to dip far into their contingency funds to keep the lights on. Twin Falls School District and Jerome School District are each seeking one 10-year plant facilities levy, which will help the districts repair parking lots, replace leaky roofs and modernize technology that is essential to educating the next generation of Idahoans.
In Twin Falls, the amount requested by the school district would actually lower taxes for most property owners.
Shoshone School District is pursuing two ballot measures: trying for a third time to pass a $6 million bond and seeking a renewal of a two-year, $300,000 levy.
The following districts have school measures on the ballot Tuesday. For a full breakdown of local school ballot measures, watch for a story in the Times-News Tuesday.
- Twin Falls School District
- Jerome School District
- Shoshone School District
- Kimberly School District: supplemental levy
- Blaine County School District: supplemental levy
- Cassia County: supplemental levy renewal, but for more money
- Buhl School District: supplemental levy renewal
- Valley School District (Hazelton): supplemental levy renewal
- Castleford School District: supplemental levy renewal
- Richfield School District: supplemental levy renewal
Despite so many schools being in drastic need of additional funding, voter turnout for school ballot measures is consistently disappointing. In Twin Falls, about 8 percent turnout is typical.
These measures are too important for voters to feel apathetic. The quality of schools directly affects taxpayers in the district, and school quality suffers when the district doesn’t have sufficient money. Shooting down these measures would be disastrous to local schools, teachers and children.
We’re certain that school districts would prefer to be properly funded by the education funding formula. But since they still aren’t, we urge voters to make the right choice and vote yes on March 13.