TWIN FALLS — Voters gave a nod of approval Tuesday to Twin Falls School District and Jerome School District levies to pay for school maintenance for the next 10 years.

In Twin Falls, 70.86 percent of voters said “yes” to a 10-year, $4.75 million annual measure — well above the 60 percent needed to pass.

The Jerome School District sought $650,000 annually for the first five years and $700,000 annually for the next five years. The measure passed with 77 percent approval.

Both were renewals of existing levies, but the school districts were asking for more money.

“Obviously, we’re just very thankful to the community for the support they provide for schools,” Twin Falls Superintendent Brady Dickinson said Tuesday night. “This is an investment in our facilities. We just appreciate the community trusts us with the tax dollars that will be available now to do some much-needed maintenance work on our buildings.”

In Jerome, Superintendent Dale Layne said Tuesday night: “We’re very pleased. We had a good percentage in favor. Again, the patrons have been very supportive and concerned that we take care of our buildings. We have plans in place we can move forward with even as early as this summer.”

The Jerome School District will use its levy money for replacing roofs, upgrading high school plumbing, security updates such as adding a vestibule at school front entrances, energy efficiency upgrades, replacing windows and HVAC systems, and resealing parking lots. It’s also looking for land to purchase for a future school to accommodate enrollment growth.

The school district has relied on a plant facilities levy for more than 40 years.

The Twin Falls School District will put together a committee to create a long-range plan — for five years and 10 years, Dickinson said. It will identify major projects to tackle.

The most urgent priorities are replacing the roof at Bickel Elementary School and HVAC work at several campuses. Another is safety upgrades — adding vestibules at older school campuses to improve access control.

“They were designed in an era where access control really wasn’t a concern,” Dickinson said, adding the safety upgrades will be a very substantial project at a few schools.

Other projects paid for using levy money will include moving closer toward having one mobile computing device for every student, upgrading desktop computers, security access controls for schools, asphalt replacement at several campuses, new furniture and carpet at all schools, repairs to Sawtooth Elementary School’s roof, a new roof for Twin Falls High School’s Roper Auditorium, enlarging the cafeteria at Twin Falls High School and replacing the Vera C. O’Leary Middle School roof.

Twin Falls voters have supported a plant facilities levy for 60 years, starting in 1958.

Both Twin Falls and Jerome’s current plant facilities levies were approved by voters in 2008 and expire this year.

With the new levy, the Twin Falls tax rate will drop slightly due to an increase in property valuation. It’s expected to remain about the same in Jerome.


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