Frequently Asked Questions

What are the problems being addressed?

First and foremost is student growth. Since the early 2000’s the school district has been steadily gaining enrollment in every school by nearly 20-30 students each year. District wide, the increase is nearly 350 students in that time. 

Why is it necessary to act right now?

The student population in Central, Kershaw and the Junior High is overflowing. Modular buildings at Central and Kershaw are currently managing the growth in those buildings. The Junior High is sharing classrooms, as well as utilizing the library as a classroom this past year in order to get by. The school district has purchased another portable building which will house two classrooms to help manage growth at the junior high.

How much will it cost?

Building costs are steadily going up, making it hard to quantify a hard number. The school district engineers believe that a new junior high, capable of housing three grades, will cost about $17 million. 

Where would this new Jr High school be built?

The proposed site would be on the land donated to Sugar-Salem School District by Glenn Dalling. The property is located directly north of Central, along 3rd North.

When would it be built?

We hope to pass the bond in August, giving us time to inform the community about the needs of the Sugar-Salem School District. If the bond is successful, the school district will start taking bids in January or February of 2020, with construction to begin as soon as the weather permits. A project of this magnitude will take about 18 months to build, giving a move in date of August of 2021.

How much higher will my taxes be?

The new tax rate would be .00345, or $345 per $100,000 in assessed property value. This tax rate is slightly higher than the 2019 rate, but lower than the previous four years (2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018). The increase would be approximately $62/year higher than the current rate.

The average rate for the past 20 years is .00402 or $402 per $100,000 in assessed value. The current bond will be less than the 20-year average.

a chart of the anticipated bond rate -- if more information is needed, please contact

How long will the bond be?

The bond would set the levy rate for a 20 year payoff. However, given the fact that our area has been experiencing steady growth for the past 20 years, the school board anticipates that the bond could be paid off in 12-13 years.

How can the school district pay it off so fast?

The school board anticipates being able to pay the bond off faster than 20 years for two reasons:

  1. Continued growth in the Sugar-Salem School District means more tax payers contributing to the payment of the bond. Sugar-Salem School District has a 15-year growth rate of 5%.
  2. The Idaho School Bond Levy Equalization Program allows Sugar-Salem School District to qualify for a subsidy to offset bond payments. Sugar- Salem’s 5-year subsidy average is 30.5%. That means the State of Idaho has paid an average of 30.5% towards the school district bonds in the last five years.

What will the school district do with the present Jr High?

The school district has several options for use for the current junior high building. The favorite option would be an agreement with the YMCA, in which they would re- purpose the building to serve our youth in a different capacity.

Why not build a high school instead?

The bonding capacity for Sugar-Salem School District currently is $19 million. Building a new high school would cost nearly double that amount.

How is our bonding capacity determined?

The bonding capacity is determined by the debt capacity of the school district, which is 5% of the market value of property in the school district, less outstanding debt. This is determined by state law (Idaho Code Section 33-1103). In the 2018-2019 fiscal year, Sugar-Salem’s taxable value was $389,232,472, putting the debt capacity at $19,461,623.

What is a CM/GC? Why is the school district using this option?

CM/GC stands for Construction Manager/General Contractor. Idaho Statute 54-4511 states that a licensed construction management firm may be awarded a contract to act as both construction manager and general contractor. It is a relatively new delivery method in Idaho, but Sugar-Salem School District will benefit from using a CM/GC. Throughout the project, the CM/GC firm will provide the school district with professional construction management and contractor services and represent the school district’s interests in completing the project on time, within set budgets, and as planned to minimize difficulties. The CM/GC will be involved in the design process of the new building which will reduce change orders. The CM/GC also manages the bidding process and all contracts. The CM/GC bears the risk of delivering the project on time and on or under budget.

Are we really out of space at our junior high?

The junior high currently has four classes meeting in the library, rendering it ineffective as a library and making it an overflow classroom. Several teachers are sharing their classrooms, moving teachers in and out of their rooms for their preparation time.

Do other schools need to be added onto as well? Why just the junior high?

Kershaw is also very full. A new junior high will be able to alleviate the pressure at Kershaw as well, by moving the 6th grade to the new building.

What will the district need to do if the bond does not pass?

To help meet the need for projected growth, the school district will continue adding modular classrooms.