Let’s take a look at what LPOSD claims are some of the reasons it absolutely must have the upcoming $25.4 million supplemental levy.
• Enrollments are well above projection, so more staff is needed.
Fact: Idaho Department of Education shows that current enrollment is lower by 306 to 569 than it was in the years of 1999-2007, when it consistently topped 4,000. What’s more, today’s enrollment can be described as a “soft” figure because it counts about 125 home school students, who are part-time.
• The reason there are no line items on the ballot as with the 2017 levy is “because the district may need some flexibility depending on what happens at the state level.”
Fact: Gov. Brad Little’s stated highest funding priority is education, and he recommends an increase for schools of 6 percent. Idaho Superintendent of Instruction Sherri Ybarra recommends 8 percent, including $1.2 billion for teacher “career ladder” salaries, plus other teacher pay and benefits, according to a January 25 article in the Daily Bee. So a generous state allocation is expected and would be a windfall for the schools that would make the $8.4 million levy increase unnecessary.
• LPOSD’s tax rate is considerably lower than the state average “because we don’t have a bond or plant levy,” per CFO Lisa Hals.
Fact: LPOSD is working on a plant levy as we speak, with architects, engineers, and a 24-member facilities committee, to present us with a plant levy of $39 million, anticipated within a year.
Vote no on March 12.