Cd'A: No emergency levy - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Cd'A: No emergency levy

School board cites recent bond approval, need for spring levy

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Posted: Saturday, September 8, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 11:20 am, Fri Nov 16, 2012.

COEUR d'ALENE - Trustees in the Coeur d'Alene School District could have certified an emergency levy Friday that would have brought an additional $260,579 into the district's coffers and increased local property taxes, but they didn't.

During a meeting at the district's administration building, school board members agreed with a recommendation from Superintendent Hazel Bauman, who suggested they forgo the tax levy opportunity. Bauman pointed to the recent voter approval of a $32.7 million facilities bond, and the district's pending need to ask voters to approve a supplemental maintenance and operations levy later in the school year, as the main reasons for her suggestion.

Before making her recommendation, Bauman detailed items the district needs due to growth in student attendance including classroom furniture, textbooks, and school buses and drivers to cover several new KTEC routes.

Bauman also said the district is facing a $3 million shortfall for the next school year, "if everything stays the same," including an existing annual $12.9 million voter-approved supplemental levy that will expire in June.

"Even notwithstanding all of those pressures, I think the wise and thoughtful approach to taxes right now in our community would be to not levy this," Bauman said.

Idaho law allows school boards in growing districts to seek emergency school fund local property tax levies during the first weeks of school each fall, without voter approval. Last year, 10 of Idaho's 115 school districts received emergency levy dollars; none of those districts are in Kootenai County.

School district budgets are set each year, and submitted to the Idaho Department of Education, several months prior to the first day of school. If an unexpected influx of students shows up for classes, the emergency levy provides an optional mechanism for school boards to seek property tax relief to cover the costs of educating those students.

Coeur d'Alene School District's average daily attendance for the first three days of school was up by 60 students this year, making the district eligible for the $260,579.

School board chair Tom Hamilton said that while the amount of money isn't insignificant, he questions whether "it's worth testing taxpayer tolerance to add an additional tax without their consent."

"It's tough because the needs are real, and nobody doubts that ... What I look to is March and the fact that I don't think anyone denies we're going to have to run an M and O (maintenance and operations) levy," Hamilton said.

Board members are aware, he said, that they're going to have to find a way to reduce the amount of the upcoming supplemental levy by finding ways to cut district expenses.

"I think this board's got a lot of work to do to try to help the administration find potential savings before that time rolls around," Hamilton said.

Most of the funding to support educational services in Idaho's public schools comes from two sources - state funds based on average daily attendance and voter-approved supplemental levies. The state and supplemental levy funds cannot be used to build or make major renovations to school facilities, so districts must ask local taxpayers to support separate facilities levies and bonds like the $32.7 million measure Coeur d'Alene district voters passed on Aug. 28. The school district cannot use any of those multi-million dollar bond funds on any school operations costs.

The shortfall of $3 million the district anticipates facing in the next budget year exists because those funds originally came into the district's budget as one-time federal stimulus dollars which the district has been maintaining by dipping into its reserve fund. District business manager Julie Day said they have reached the point where there aren't enough reserve funds to continue that remedy.

During Friday's meeting Trustee Jim Purtee questioned whether it was a good business decision to turn down the emergency levy dollars considering the district's financial condition.

"I'm not sure it's being proper stewards of the district, to turn down a revenue stream. Balance that with the fact that if we don't take it now, we'll have to take it in March, one way or the other," Purtee said.

Board chair Hamilton reminded everyone that voters will have a say on whether to approve a tax increase to support education services in March, unlike the emergency levy they were considering Friday.

"That's what I was going to say. The voters did a great job on the facilities levy. I don't think this is enough money to jeopardize, or have it become a topic of discussion between now and March, that it was another levy," Purtee said. "I would rather just wait until March. If it was a million dollars, it might be different."

Trustees Ann Seddon and Terri Seymour agreed with Purtee, Hamilton and Bauman during Friday's discussion.

"I look at the need, but I just don't want to jeopardize the good trust and attitude of our voters, so it's a tough call," Seddon said.

Trustees have not yet formalized plans to put a supplemental levy election before voters in March. They will likely spend the next few months reviewing the district's operating revenue and expenses, looking for ways to cut costs prior to setting a levy amount.

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  • inclined posted at 3:47 am on Tue, Sep 11, 2012.

    inclined Posts: 682

    BL In the middle of the mundane would you consider leaving the "Great Feathery Jesus" out of it. Please allow this explanation.

    The Moral Law was resplendent with a curse protocol. It was perfectly applicable, absolutely commensurate to the nature of the rules of High government. They still exist.

    I have lived in cultures where there were characters who practiced rituals to interfere with your life, witch doctors, shamans, sorcerers. They are called by different names. If you were to stay in a country like Haiti very long, or Mexico, any African nation, you would know what these people are capable of.

    Why do friends of ours, presently working in three different hospitals in Ecuador, a surgeon and nurse, know of consequences these practitioners manage, among all classes of people, yet very few hesitate breaking Moral Law, and deal with it's sure consequences in sophisticated America?

    If whole country's guest are fair warned of the workings of voodoo and witchery, I would welcome the effects of the curse in the sanction of Moral Law, to be more notably manifest in our world here. When in the course of our lives we tacitly read and are aware of real wrong, real kinds of hurt and even evil, and think that people are not cursed as a result, we are not salt in the earth to be quiet and complacent.

    This man's comment only brought to mind that there is, in the Moral realm, the effects of another sanction, another subpoena to be manifest by certain people, people that understand the lesson of the fig tree.

    We have, in the days ahead, issues of such a magnitude, in dealing with the life of the oldest living Democratic Republic on the earth. So many things will distract us from matters that are at war with the heart and soul of this Republic and it's continued existence.

    There are people that should know, that if and when evil manifest itself in the world daily, on every continent, to the detriment of health and goodness and life, by instruments of darkness and evil, why is it that Christian people do not take seriously the intent of the curse, in conjunction with Moral Law, and as relates to the words of Christ and His intended purposes for our part in the world around us, when He explained the matter of the curse in the fig tree example?

  • Bob Loblaw posted at 9:23 am on Mon, Sep 10, 2012.

    Bob Loblaw Posts: 375

    Now are you "yes" voters convinced that the District will keep spending with no end in sight, no matter how much money you "give" them? Great Feathery Jesus! Wake up!

    As for deferred maintenance and "underpaid" teachers, this is an old trick to fool voters into giving them more and more money each year. ENOUGH!

  • idahoguy posted at 7:57 am on Sun, Sep 9, 2012.

    idahoguy Posts: 932

    Sorry. Contractors can fix building which have excessive moisture without starting over. Mold can be killed then stopped if the moisture source is addressed. Or used as an excuse to get a new building by not correctly addressing deferred maintenance.

    Go figure then read and weep.

  • Fralphgob posted at 11:00 pm on Sat, Sep 8, 2012.

    Fralphgob Posts: 54

    I would normally agree with you Cdajon. Everyone needs to tighten their belts in ties like these. What you might not be aware of is that there is a growing mold issue in that old Catholic Nunnery that is the District Office. As for your statement concerning most school teachers and administrators being democrats. Well, that isn't true either. Even the NEA is evenly split between lib's, indie's,and conservatives. As for their hand being out: Do you realize that not only have the teachers in District 271 not had a raise in four years but they haven't even asked for one. In fact they have ratified contracts that have reduced their benefits as well. The teachers with their hand out are making less now then 4 years ago. So is the District, which is servicing more students with less staff and is making due with close to 8 million dollars less than they had 4 years ago. If the belt gets much tighter it might cut them in half.

  • Cdajon posted at 6:29 pm on Sat, Sep 8, 2012.

    Cdajon Posts: 364

    They don't need a new office. Continue with what you've got and make it work. We tax payer property owners feel like we're being used just for our money. If the current employees performed like they should we could get by with less people and less overhead. In business you cut overhead first to raise profits. You school administrators need to suck it up and tighten your belts.'s how it is these days. The problem is that most school teachers and administrator's are democrats..champions of the hand out and free money.

  • hayden_guy posted at 9:07 am on Sat, Sep 8, 2012.

    hayden_guy Posts: 399

    Not a good decision, in my opinion. If you look at the schools, class sizes are overflowing. Teachers are literally asking other teachers if they have any extra desks so students can have a place to sit. This money would have paid for teachers to make class sizes manageable.... at least close to manageable.

    InThePines- The district office is in shambles. Part of it can not be used because it is unsafe. The district needs a new office building.

  • InThePines posted at 8:49 am on Sat, Sep 8, 2012.

    InThePines Posts: 146

    Good news. The current question is: Word has it that the entire administrative office building is going to be totally replaced/rebuilt in another location, whatever. *Where* is the money going to come from from that endeavor?

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