Legislators, LPOSD talk finances, schools

Print Article

SANDPOINT — Only time will tell what Lake Pend Oreille School District’s financial reality is.

Local school administrators and Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, and Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, outlined a variety of legislative actions that could impact the district in a Tuesday conference call. While Eskridge continues his work on the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee to finalize the amount of money headed toward local districts, other factors like bills to replace the repealed Students Come First reforms, the fate of a proposed repeal of personal property tax, upcoming bills related to the gun control debate and the future of health care in Idaho will all affect the district.

According to Eskridge, the final appropriations for school district will likely reflect Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s proposed 2-percent increase in school spending and State Superintendent Tom Luna’s suggestion of 3 percent.

“From a personal perspective, I think we’ll be somewhere around three percent,” Eskridge said.

Discussions over the repeal of personal property tax throw local districts’ financial situation into more ambiguity. The proposal is meant to put more money in business coffers in hopes of spurring employment and economic development. However, district business manager Lisa Hals noted that such a measure would be a de facto increase on local property taxpayers. Because the amount of money collected from the supplemental levy wouldn’t change, home and property owners would pay a higher rate to reach that threshold.

While Otter has suggested counties implement local option taxes to make up the revenue shortfall from the repeal, Keough and Eskridge agree that they won’t support the measure unless the money is replaced by the state.

Legislators are also preparing to introduce legislation that would reintroduce some aspects of Proposition 1 from the defunct Students Come First reforms, which restricted collective bargaining rights and altered the teacher-district negotiation process. District officials noted that state authorities removed discussion of these items from the table in an advisory committee consisting of education professionals.

“I was disappointed by that,” Keough said.

On the same token, Eskridge worried that legislators were rushing to finalize the bills without sufficient public input, something many accused them of regarding the original reforms.

“I told people that we may be making the same mistakes we made before,” Eskridge said.  

Legislators may also be introducing bills next week in response to the Obama administration’s gun control package. While Eskridge said the specifics of the bills are still unknown, they may impact measures schools will take in ensuring safety.

Hals was curious about the use of a $33 million line item previously dedicated to teacher bonuses introduced by Students Come First. Keough said that while the decision regarding that money hasn’t yet been determined, she would like to see it bolster teacher paychecks.

“I think we should allocate it to salary, because that’s where the dollars were supposed to go,” she said.

Print Article

Read More News

Duterte declares martial rule in besieged south Philippines

AP

May 23, 2017 at 10:25 pm | MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned Wednesday that he'll be harsh in enforcing martial law in his country's south as he abruptly left Moscow to deal with a crisis a...

Comments

Read More

China stocks fall after rating cut, other Asian markets gain

AP

May 23, 2017 at 9:00 pm | BEIJING (AP) — Chinese stocks sank Wednesday after Moody's cut the country's debt rating and other Asian markets rose following Wall Street's advance. KEEPING SCORE: The Shanghai Composite Index ...

Comments

Read More

Board endorses conservation easement on Schweitzer

May 23, 2017 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee SANDPOINT — Bonner County commissioners are putting their support behind a conservation easement aimed at preserving Schweitzer Mountain Resort’s slopes while funding capital improvements on the mo...

Comments

Read More

Scotchman Peaks open house set

May 23, 2017 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee HOPE — United State Sen. Jim Risch’s office is hosting a open house on the Scotchman Peaks wilderness proposal on Tuesday, June 6. The open house runs from 4-7 p.m. in the Hope Elementary School gym...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 263-9534
PO Box 159
Sandpoint, ID 83864

©2017 Bonner County Daily Bee Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X