Voters: Thumbs up for education

Cd'A $32.7 million bond passes with 71.64 percent approval

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SHAWN GUST/Press Gary Olson, an elections volunteer, looks over Janie Arambarri as she fills out a voter registration card Tuesday at Woodland Middle School. A Coeur d'Alene School District bond proposal was the single item on the ballot.

COEUR d'ALENE - Voters in the Coeur d'Alene School District threw their support behind a $32.7 million bond, passing it at the polls Tuesday with 71.64 percent voter approval.

Successful passage required a supermajority - 66 and two-thirds percent of the votes cast - to pass.

The funds will be used to finance major renovations at five aging schools and technology infrastructure upgrades throughout the district.

"This is life changing, for my kids and for me," said Tiffany Melton, when the final results were in. Melton is a third-grade teacher at Bryan Elementary School, one of the buildings slated for remodeling.

There were 7,444 votes cast in the Coeur d'Alene School District, with 5,333 in favor of the bond and 2,111 against, representing 28.36 percent.

Tom Hamilton, chair of the district's board of trustees, said the results show that the community "solidly supports education."

This is the first school tax measure brought to voters by a fledgling board. Hamilton and Trustee Terri Seymour were elected in 2011, and the remaining three trustees on the five-member board were each appointed within the last few months.

When asked if he felt the bond's passage represents a vote of confidence for the new board, Hamilton said he feels it does.

"I think it shows the community believes in this board and this administration's ability to lead the district in challenging times," Hamilton said.

The bond's passage will not increase the levy rate for district property owners because it is replacing two items that are coming off the tax rolls this year, the KTEC facilities levy and the Lake City High School bond.

"I'm so thankful to the community," said Superintendent Hazel Bauman. "This is going to make a huge difference in learning for a lot of kids in this community."

There were school elections in two other Kootenai County districts, Lakeland and the Kootenai Joint District. Each of those measures passed also.

Voter turnout across all three school district elections was 9,719, representing 17.97 percent of the 54,085 registered voters in those districts.

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