2022 Plant Facilities Levy
The Blaine County School District is known for providing an excellent learning environment designed to prepare students for the future. As we work to fulfill our mission, we must evaluate our facility needs to ensure the long-term success of our schools and the students and families they serve. This means enhancing safety and addressing maintenance needs.
On Tuesday, August 30, 2022, residents of the Blaine County School District will vote on a Plant Facilities Levy. If this measure receives at least 55% voter approval, the district would be able to move forward with a number of key facility improvement projects.
These projects would cover improving, maintaining, and repairing existing buildings, including roof repairs and replacements. They would also include furnishing and equipping buildings, safety and security improvements, LED lighting, and updates to mechanical systems, appliances, technology, and heating, ventilation, and sanitation facilities.
These much-needed projects would touch every single building in our district, while giving particular attention to schools with the most significant needs.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Will any of the Plant Facilities Levy funds be used for salaries and benefits?
No, 100% of the Plant Facilities Levy funds would be used to improve physical buildings and campuses. None of this money would go toward salaries and benefits.
What are the district’s needs?
While Blaine County schools are known for providing an excellent learning environment to students, we have a number of facilities needs that we must address soon. Most of these needs come at costs far above what our district is able to cover through its regular operating budget alone.
For example, our heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in many of our buildings are more than 20 years old and have outlived their useful lives. To make repairs, we often must purchase used models of the equipment and strip them for parts. These systems also tend to be energy inefficient.
As we work to fulfill our mission, we must evaluate our facility needs to ensure the long-term success of our schools and the students and families they serve. Our top priority is to continue to provide a safe learning environment and a top-quality educational experience to engage, inspire, and empower our students.
By acting now, we believe we can address these needs that will ensure we continue to provide excellent learning environments for students now and in the years to come.
How would an approved levy address these needs?
The BCSD Board of Trustees has drafted a five-year Plant Facilities Levy for the ballot on Tuesday, August 30.
If this measure receives at least 55% voter approval, the district would be able to move forward with a number of key facility improvement projects. This would cover improving, maintaining, and repairing existing buildings, including roof repairs and replacements. It would also include furnishing and equipping buildings, safety and security improvements, LED lighting, and updates to mechanical systems, appliances, technology, and heating, ventilation, and sanitation facilities.
These projects were identified and prioritized in a year-long, third-party Building Conditions Evaluation. The list has since been carefully reviewed by the board’s Finance Advisory Committee and updated with current cost estimates and needs. The committee’s focus has been on safety and maintenance needs above all else.
The identified projects would touch every single building in our district, while giving particular attention to schools with the most significant needs.
Will community members get to vote on the proposed solution to the district's facilities needs?
Yes. The School Board has drafted a Plant Facilities Levy question for the ballot on Tuesday, August 30, 2022. This would be a five-year, non-recurring levy. It would expire at the end of the 2026-27 school year.
The question on the ballot requires at least 55 percent voter approval to pass, per Idaho statute.
How would an approved levy affect property taxes?
If approved, the August 30 Plant Facilities Levy would have a property tax impact of not more than $34.90 per year for every $100,000 of taxable assessed value in our community.
The taxable assessed value of a property is its assessed value, minus the Idaho homeowners exemption of $125,000. For example, if your home’s total assessed value is $500,000, its taxable assessed value would be $375,000.
The district and board aim to keep property taxes as low as possible in our community. We have worked to balance the needs of our students and schools with those of our community members. We strive to make the most of every dollar community members invest in their local schools.
The board remains very sensitive to the need for efficiency and to reduce costs as much as possible.
With my current tax assessment, is there an easy way to calculate my property taxes?
Yes! You can use the tool below to calculate your estimated tax impact based on the assessed value of your home:
Why can’t the district use its regular operating budget to address its facility needs?
BCSD faces growing financial challenges due to fixed revenues and growing expenses. Our revenues do not adjust with inflation or with the increase in property values.
Almost 60-percent of district revenues represent a fixed dollar amount that buys less each year due to inflation. About 40-percent of district revenues vary unpredictably based on decisions made by the state legislature and governor.
The district is required to spend 2 percent of replacement value on building maintenance each year. Funds not raised by the levy will need to come out of the district’s general budget.
How much revenue would an approved levy generate for the district?
If approved, the levy would provide the district with a total of $25 million to fund safety improvements and key maintenance projects across our schools.
This would be a five-year, non-recurring levy. It would expire at the end of the 2026-27 school year.
Is this a bond?
No. The levy proposed on August 30 is a Plant Facilities Levy. There are no fees or interest, and the revenue generated is provided directly to the school district for the purposes outlined on the ballot.
How has the district used ESSER funds?
The Blaine County School District, like most districts across the country, received money through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. This was part of the federal government’s COVID-19 relief effort, known as the American Rescue Plan (ARP).
ESSER funds are meant primarily to address the impacts of the pandemic. Districts cannot use this money to cover budgeted general operations, maintenance, or facility projects, and instead must direct the money toward responding to COVID-19, addressing long-term school closures, retaining teachers and staff, addressing mental and emotional health issues, and preventing learning loss.
The district has fully leveraged these funds and will continue to do so over the next two years. While this money has been extremely helpful, it is temporary in nature and will do little to address our long-term facility needs.
This document details how BCSD has allocated ESSER funds throughout our schools.
Are ESSER funds being used to address any of the facility issues that currently exist in the district?
Yes, the district assembled a committee to review and prioritize needs that could be addressed with the use of federal COVID-19 relief (ESSER) funds. The committee determined that the top need to address was learning loss with students. This led to the funding of a summer school program that operated during the summers of 2021 and 2022.
In summer 2022, BCSD served approximately 300 students. The district anticipates offering a similar program and reaching more students during summer 2023 with the use of ESSER funds. Additionally, the district used ESSER funds to upgrade some safety and security measures at our schools.
How long does the district have to use ESSER funds?
All school districts have until September 30, 2024, to commit ESSER funds for allowable purposes. The remaining funds will be committed for the current fiscal year, as well as for fiscal years 2023 and 2024.
When is election day?
The Plant Facilities Levy question will appear on a special election ballot Tuesday, August 30, 2022. Voters may cast their ballots at their usual polling locations. For voting information, please visit https://www.co.blaine.id.us/196/Elections.
How was the August 30 election date identified?
The board considered holding the election in May 2022. However, there was not enough time to communicate thoroughly with our community members about the district's facility needs. The board also considered a November 2022 election date, but that would mean potential levy funds would not be available until January 2024.
The August 30 date allows the district to communicate thoroughly with the public and begin working on projects in 2023, if the levy is approved by voters. It's important to note that many of the targeted projects are time sensitive in nature.
Will absentee and early voting be available?
Yes! For tools and information on absentee and early voting, please visit https://voteidaho.gov.