Board of Trustees Approves Bond and Levy Vote
On March 6, 2019 the Sugar-Salem School District Board of Trustees approved a resolution to seek a $200,000 supplemental levy. This levy will be used for the purpose of paying lawful expenses of maintaining and operating the schools in the district. The vote for the levy occurred on May 21, 2019 and passed with 432 voters in-favor and 105 voters against. On April 11, 2019 the Board also approved a resolution to seek a bond. The election for this $17 million bond will occur on August 27, 2019. This August bond will be used to finance the construction of a new junior high school. For information, including where to vote, follow the “Bond Quick Links” found on this page.
What are levies and bonds?
Levies and bonds are two different ways that school districts raise revenue funds.
A levy is a tax that is requested on local property owners. Patrons are then responsible to pay the full amount of the levy over a set period of time and the district receives the money as taxpayers pay their tax bills. In general, Levies are for Learning and provide funding for things such as teacher salaries, resource officer salaries, textbooks, utility bills, classroom supplies and equipment, bus operation and maintenance, upkeep of school grounds and other operating expenses.
A bond is a debt, offered to the public, which must be repaid with interest over a pre-determined amount of time. In general, Bonds are for Buildings and provide funding for renovating old and building new school buildings. While levies will pass with a simple majority of votes, a bond requires a supermajority or 66.67% of voters to be in favor of the bond.
The video below explains levies and bonds in greater detail.
Why does the school district need a levy?
The funding we receive from the State of Idaho is currently insufficient to meet our district’s needs. Because of this shortage from the state, we are required to seek additional funding from our local taxpayers through levies. This is similar to a household that has expenses in excess of one household member’s paycheck. A second household member would be forced to get a job to pay these excess expenses in order to pay the bills. With a levy the District has a second source of income to help pay for all of the operating expenses.
Why does our school district need a bond?
The State of Idaho does not fund the construction or renovation of school buildings. Because of this, the local community bears the burden of infrastructure costs which are funded through bonds. This is similar to a household’s mortgage. The household want’s to purchase a house but has insufficient funds to cover such a large expense. The household can apply for a loan and if approved must pay back the loan, with interest over a pre-determined period of time. With a Bond, the District would have the funds needed to finance a new Jr. High School and address the growth needs in the district.
How will the levy and bond change my taxes?
The new tax rate would be .00345 or $345 per $100K in assessed value.
While this would be an increase of $62 per year over our current rate, the average rate over the past 20 years has been .00402 or $402 per $100K in assessed value.
Why replace the Junior High? Were other options explored?
Over two years ago, a board appointed bond committee was formed to review earlier bond attempts and to provide input and direction as the District moves forward. Since that time, the committee, which consists of representatives from each area in the district, has met together and with patrons throughout the community to discuss various options. Due to continued student population growth, it became evident that a new facility would be needed to accommodate this growth. A new High School is currently not feasible since the District’s bonding capacity is insufficient for the cost of a new High School. Due to the recent donation of land by Glenn Dalling, building a new Jr. High School is now feasible.
Here are some other reasons that the Junior High School was selected:
- It is one of the oldest buildings in the district.
- It takes about $500,000 to maintain the building each year.
- It does not have enough classroom space to accommodate our current student enrollment.
- It is a safety concern when the students go to lunch or attend class in a portable.
- It will give us flexibility to move the 6th grade to the Junior High to alleviate growth at Kershaw Elementary School as well.
How did the district use the last bond?
- New A/C & Heating Units at Central
- New laptops at the HS and JH
- New bleachers at the High School
- New carpet at Kershaw
- Remodel bathrooms at Kershaw
- New Security Cameras
- New lawnmowers for district
- HVAC repairs at High School
- New outdoor bleachers at HS
- New oven at Central
Bond/Levy Committee Members
The Board of Trustees has formed a committee to review the earlier bond attempt and to provide input and direction as the district moves forward. As the committee was created Kristin Galbraith, Board Chair, worked to get representation from each area in the district. Mrs. Galbraith tasked each committee member to have a meeting within their area and invite their neighbors to attend. Committee members will share district needs and solicit input and brainstorm possible solutions.