SANDPOINT — The Lake Pend Oreille School Board didn’t need much time to approve a $7.8-million-a-year levy that will be presented to voters in March.
With the groundwork and public input covered in several planning sessions over the past couple months, board members had already informally agreed on a figure of $7,883,742 per year over two years, presented to them as “option four.” Members only needed a twenty-minute meeting to approve it and take care of the remaining business.
“That was a little anti-climactic,” board member Mindy Cameron said.
If approved by voters this March, the levy will run property owners about $224 a year for every $200,000 of property with a homeowner’s exemption. By contrast, the lowest option during planning sessions, which was a slight reduction of the 2011-2013 levy, would have totaled $192 a year with a homeowner’s exemption.
The levy proposal is an increase of about $1 million per year over the $6.8 million-a-year levy from 2011-2013.
With the levy plans finalized and ready to go, district superintendent Shawn Woodward will begin an awareness campaign by visiting several different community groups and hosting informational meetings for the public, where he will detail what services the levy will enable the district to keep and which will need to be cut despite an increase in local support.
As for the nature of service and program cuts, the specifics won’t be apparent until the district has a better idea of its financial situation. With state allocations still unknown and the status of several revenue sources up in the air, school officials will face the tough cutting decisions later next year.