Jefferson County school district cancels supplemental levy

Jefferson County School District Cancel Supplemental Levy

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Idaho - Jefferson County School District is cancelling its supplemental levy, as long as the state government grants more flexibility in state funds.

For the past four years, Jefferson County School District have lost $4 million in state funding. That loss of money has taken a big toll on the school district's basic programs.

"We've avoided hiring additional teachers, we've cut counselors, we've cut kindergarten busing, extracurricular sports," said Superintendent Ron Tolman.

But now the state government may be saving the Jefferson County School Board from imposing its first ever supplemental levy.

The House has currently passed and restored the House Bill 65 known as "use it or lose it" funds, which would grant school district the flexibility of using up to 9.5 percent of funds that usually go to teacher salaries or the hiring new teachers. It's believed that the Senate will pass it soon with little opposition.

"So rather than ask for money that they now feel they really don't need, they would rather cancel and take another look at it at the end of March," said Dr. Tolman.

According to Tolman, if the bill passes the senate, the Jefferson County School District could use $800,000 in revenue for the 2013 school year and $750,000 for the 2014 school year. That's why the school board is has put the supplemental levy on hold to see if it's even needed with these possible extra funds.

But every school districts deals with state budget cuts differently, like Bonneville County School District 93, which has lost $7 million. According to Superintendent Dr. Charles Shackett, the "use it or lose it" funds were used to actually hire more teachers, therefore the funds could not cover the budget cuts.

The Jefferson County School Board is hoping to hear if House Bill 65 passes before March 26 to make a decision on the supplemental levy for the May election. The next board meeting is March 27.

Jefferson County School District is one of 28 Idaho districts that currently does not have a levy in place. 

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