Post Falls schools considering emergency levy

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School board members in Post Falls will decide whether to seek an emergency school fund levy this weekend.

The board of trustees is meeting Saturday at 10 a.m. at the district's central office, 206 W. Mullan Ave., to discuss the possible property tax levy.

At the start of each school year, Idaho education law allows boards in growing districts to seek property tax relief, without voter approval, to cover the cost of educating additional students for whom the district is not receiving a state appropriation.

"We ended up with 40 new students," wrote Post Falls Superintendent Jerry Keane, in a message to The Press.

Districts generally review their students' average daily attendance for the first three days of school to determine if their district is eligible for emergency tax dollars. The Idaho statute regarding school emergency fund levies calls for boards to certify such levies before the second Monday in September.

Last week, Keane told The Press the county commissioners granted his district an extension to submit local tax information, giving them more time to review their attendance data.

School started on Tuesday, Sept. 4, and by Wednesday, attendance in Post Falls was up by 20 students, and rose slightly the following day.

Keane stated that if Post Falls trustees go forward with the emergency levy, the district will receive between $150,000 and $175,000, with a cost to taxpayers of 9 cents per $1,000 of taxable assessed property value.

A year ago, student attendance in Post Falls jumped by 31, but the board did not certify an emergency levy of $120,000 it was eligible for because a supplemental maintenance and operations levy was approved by voters the previous spring. At the time, the cost of the emergency levy would have increased Post Falls school property taxes beyond the $12 high-water mark set during the spring levy campaign.

A two-year property tax levy voters approved to build KTEC, the professional-technical high school, is coming off the tax rolls this year, which will likely cushion the impact felt by an emergency levy, if the board decides to seek one.

Trustees in the Coeur d'Alene School District decided Friday to turn down the opportunity to levy $260,579 in property taxes without voter consent. Superintendent Hazel Bauman recommended against the levy, citing voters' recent approval of a $32.7 construction bond and the need to ask voters to pass a supplemental maintenance and operations levy in March.

Attendance was down in the Lakeland district, making that district ineligible for an emergency levy.

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