Schools Hope To Pass Bonds

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - Tuesday's school elections could have a big impact on many Idaho students.

The last Idaho falls School District bond failed almost two years ago but with no organized opposition Superintendent George Boland says he is optimistic the $53 million bond will pass.

Idaho Falls School District 91 hasn't passed a bond for more than 20 years.

Boland said education has dramatically changed since most of schools were built more than 50 years ago.

The majority of the funds would pay to rebuild the four oldest elementary schools.

"This is from a financial standpoint, the best time to do this because we have record low bond rates, record low construction costs so its an opportunity to leverage those two issues to get the most bang for our dollar,? Boland said. ?There will never be a time when we can do the scope of work we are going to do for the cost we are going to do it for."

The rest of the money would fund upgrades to the high schools and remodel Clair E. Gale for the new magnet school.

Some taxpayers have expressed concern whether now is the time to spend money on a new magnet school but Boland says it will not be very costly.

"Actually a very small percentage is going to the magnet high school,? Boladn said. ?The work that's being done at Clair E. Gale was planned prior to the conversion of the junior high to the high school, predominately HVAC."

Bonneville School District 93 is also asking for a bond worth $14 million, most of which would go toward building a new elementary school.

"When this school is built in a year and a half and opens its doors, it will already be full,? District 93 superintendent Chuck Shackett said. ?With the growth of the community, we need room to house the students."

If it doesn't pass, Shackett said it will mean more portable classrooms and possible year-round school.

Other projects include remodeling existing buildings for a new professional technical school.

Although District 91 is asking for a $10 increase for every $100,000 of property, the District 93 bond would not raise taxes.

"We are trying to allow the growth of the community pay for the additional buildings so it's more of the growth covering those costs,? Shackett said. ?More people are paying taxes, so it spreads it out."

Four other school districts across the state also have school elections Tuesday.

For the sixth year in a row Salmon School District 291 is asking for a $13.5 million bond to build a prekindergarten to eighth-grade school house.

For the second year in a row, the Aberdeen School District is asking voters to approve a $600,000 supplemental levy.

Mackay School District 182 is asking for a renewal of a five-year plant facilities reserve fund levy.

Soda Springs School District 150 is asking for a one-year supplementary levy worth nearly $600 dollars.

All bonds need a two-thirds majority to pass. Plant facilities levies require a 55 percent approval, while supplemental levies only require a simple majority.

Polls are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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