As hundreds of thousands of Idaho K-12 students and educators begin another school year, a few Gem State school districts are again faced with the uncomfortable task of turning to voters to help them pay the bills and maintain what they say are critical services.
In Canyon County's Middleton School District, voters are being asked to approve a two-year, $2.62 million levy that would cost the average household about $9.17 per month. Middleton school officials said they need the extra funds to pay for counselors, nurses, librarians, student athletics, and gifted and talented programs.
In the Latah County community of Troy, voters are being asked one more time to approve a supplemental school levy—voters rejected levies in March and May elections. In the current edition of Boise Weekly, we profile a Tory educator who, after being laid off due to budget contraints, wrote a personal letter to Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra to plead her case. Troy school officials said they were forced to cut teaching positions, all-day kindergarten, athletics and other programs prior to beginning the current school year, which they have delayed until Wednsday, September 9th.. If voters approve the new $995,000 levy request (scaled back from $1.3 mllion in March and $1.2 million in May), officials say they'll be able to reinstate the positions, which also include counselors and librarians.
But securing a "yes" vote in Troy will be an uphill battle. 65 percent of the voters turned down the March levy and 56 percent said no in the May election.