Supplemental Levy Election
On March 13, 2018 the voters of Blaine County passed a two-year Supplemental Levy to increase funding by the sum of $2.99 million in each fiscal year of 2018-19 and 2019-20. After two years, the current Supplemental Levy will expire.
The Supplemental Levy ballot question asked voters to approve a new Supplemental Levy for $2.99 million a year for two years in order to continue to meet the community's expectations for class sizes and offerings that exceed the state requirements, continue to improve student achievement for all students, and recruit and retain the best staff. The current Plant Facilities Levy will be reduced by $2.99 million. Neither the levy rate nor taxes collected increased.
What is the background?
The largest source of funding for student instruction is a local property tax called the Budget Stabilization Levy. This levy was created in 2006 by the Idaho Legislature. The amount is fixed at $29 million annually and cannot increase. As expenses for student instruction continue to increase by $1 million annually and as the effects of inflation impact the spending power of that money, the district will have to either ask the public for more funding or continue to make reductions in expenses. Further reductions will impact classes. The Board of Trustees sought voter approval in March, 2018 for a Supplemental Levy. Once approved, the Board of Trustees reduced the collection on the Plant Facilities Levy.
The Plant Facilities Levy, passed in 2009, was intended to fund improvements at aging schools, technology, safety and a new elementary school. Enrollment grew, but not at the expected rate, so an elementary school is not currently needed. So far Plant Facilities Levy funds have been used to improve HVAC and safety features at aging schools, as well as other physical improvements and additions at schools throughout the district. For a full report on facilities, read more here. For a full report on technology and safety, read more here.
How will the money be used for student instruction?
- Maintain elementary and secondary school class offerings that exceed the state requirements. These include smaller class sizes, preschool, all-day kindergarten, athletics, art, drama, choir, band, orchestra, career technical education and world languages.
- Accelerate the district’s effort to close achievement gaps among students. Students living in families with incomes below the poverty line, learning English as a second language and identified with learning disabilities are lagging in meeting state standards of achievement. The ballot measure will provide continued funding of programs to help all students meet state standards.
- Provide a modest salary increase to retain and recruit the best staff. Salary negotiations for the 2018-19 academic year will begin in May.
- Address additional unfunded objectives from the Strategic Plan adopted in 2015. This includes programs such as the community request for outdoor education for middle school students.
How will the Plant Facilities Levy be used going forward?
The Plant Facilities Levy will be used for building maintenance of almost 845,000 square feet of buildings, as well as for technology purchases and debt payment. Approximately $1.3 million per year will go toward building maintenance, $1 million per year will go toward technology, and $1 million per year will go toward debt. The current Plant Facilities Levy will expire in 2020. The Board of Trustees tasked the Finance Committee with evaluating current and future facility needs. This work will begin in October, 2018 and conclude in May, 2019.
What has the district done to cut expenses?
In the past three years, BCSD has reduced the General Fund budget by $2.5 million through reducing school budgets, reducing central services supply budgets and personnel, and both voluntary and mandatory salary cuts for year-round administrative staff. For a full list of those savings, read more here.