After reading a few recent letters in The Press about increases in this year’s property taxes, I thought I would add my two cents.
What a nice Christmas card I received when I opened my 2017 Kootenai County tax statement with an obligation $280 higher than last year, a 17 percent increase. My wife and I are both retired senior citizens, and this increase is not insignificant. About 75 percent of this increase was to School District No. 272J-Supp (Lakeland).
Now to be fair, I did vote Yes in May for the most recent Lakeland School District supplemental funding. I did estimate our tax increase with data supplied by Lakeland published in The Press, although I made a low estimate. Both of my kids went through the Lakeland school system, and we felt that Lakeland was a good quality system. And while my kids were attending school, there were retired folks back then helping support the school district with property taxes.
I guess my issue or question is that there must be a more equitable way to fund Idaho public schools. From what I consider reliable sources working within local school systems, our Idaho Legislature really does a mediocre or poor job of sufficiently funding schools with taxes collected from an array of sources; relying I suppose on local voters to pass some very significant supplemental bonds funded through property taxes. What about the school endowment fund established by the Idaho Department of Lands? Does that effectively get funneled into the school system? There were also several other equity issues stated in those recent letters to The Press.
I really do feel conflicted about my vote for the next supplement or bond. At this moment I would strongly consider a No vote.