Do you support Coeur d'Alene School District's $32.7 million bond to upgrade school buildings? - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Do you support Coeur d'Alene School District's $32.7 million bond to upgrade school buildings?

Total Votes: 1343


Welcome to the discussion.


  • voxpop posted at 4:24 pm on Sat, Aug 25, 2012.

    voxpop Posts: 738

    On the one hand you have a school district which does an amazing job with such poor support from the legislature, which really doesn't want a quality education for state residents. After all, an educated electorate would be very dangerous to their way of doing business in Boise. And on the other hand, the district produces those with the communication skills of Bullman3. In the final analysis however, more than 1/3rd of the voting public are of the same mind as Samuel. They've gotten their education and now expect someone else to foot the bill for today's kids. Certainly glad my kids are educated, employed with great jobs, and GONE.

  • SamuelStanding posted at 2:18 pm on Thu, Aug 23, 2012.

    SamuelStanding Posts: 613

    I found it troubling when I looked at the "Monthly Gross Payroll" posted on the District's site, for July.

    Almost 50 employees at the District Office, and these are folks being paid 12x's / yr. Only pulled a few examples but the Treasurer makes $67,714.08 / yr plus retirement and medical/dental. Then you have the Public Relations individual (is that really a necessary position?) $60,000/yr plus benefits.

    Director's for School Plus - $73,371.96, Special Ed - $89,533.56 and Assis't Super - $102,999.96 all receiving benefits. Does this not strike a chord with anyone else? City Officials don't even make this much money or have as many positions handling ONE job description! In a time that so many are having to do with so much more less, why does this District continue to HIRE ADMINISTRATORS and not place that General Fund money back on the children and buildings? Hard for me to support this HUGE sum of money folks...

  • baraka posted at 9:48 am on Thu, Aug 23, 2012.

    baraka Posts: 43

    Historical Background

    In 1975, the Idaho Supreme Court, in Thompson v. Engelking, 537 P.2d 635, rejected a claim that the state school finance system violated equal protection principles under state and federal law. Nearly two decades later, however, the same court distinguished its prior ruling, in Idaho Schools for Equal Educational Opportunity v. Evans (ISEEO), 850 P.2d 724 (1993), and found that an "adequacy" claim under the state constitution's education clause should go forward to trial.

    In 1994, the trial court declared the suit moot because the legislature had changed the funding formula and redefined a "thorough education." On appeal, the state supreme court reversed the decision, concluding that an unresolved question remained as to whether a "thorough education" was being provided to students.

    In 1997, the trial court again dismissed plaintiffs' claim, but the state supreme court, in ISEEO v. State, 976 P.2d 913 (1998), reversed, in part, and remanded the facilities and capital funding portion of the case. The court held that "the Legislature has the duty to provide a means for school districts to fund facilities that offer a safe environment conducive to learning."

    In 2000 and 2001, the legislature passed minor facilities measures that help property-poor districts, but insufficiently, according to plaintiffs.

    In the midst of a series of hearings in late 2002, the trial court appointed a special master to assess all of the "run-down" schools in the state, the first facilities assessment since 1992-1993. The state appealed the appointment, which prevents the special master from proceeding until the appeal is decided.

    In 2003, the legislature enacted a statute intended to eliminate the ISEEO case and prevent any future cases of this type. In October 2003, the lower court ruled that the new law is unconstitutional, and the state appealed that ruling.

    Recent Events

    On December 21, 2005, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed the district court's conclusion that “the current [school] funding system is simply not sufficient to carry out the Legislature's duty under the constitution,” in Idaho Schools for Equal Educational Opportunity (ISEEO) v. State (ISEEO V). The court based its opinion on what it described as “the overwhelming evidence in the record documenting serious facility and funding problems in the state's public education system,” including the state's own school facilities needs assessments. The “evidence not only supports, but compels the district court's conclusion,” the court found.

    The court did not set a deadline but “will retain jurisdiction to consider future legislative efforts to comply with the constitutional mandate. . . .” Although the court stated that the remedy “must be fashioned by the Legislature and not this Court,” it provided several examples of remedies adopted by other states to “demonstrate that there are options available to assist school districts. . . .” “We leave the policy decisions to [the Legislature],” the court said, “subject to our continuing responsibility to ensure Idaho's constitutional provisions are satisfied.”

    The lone dissent in this 4-1 decision recommended that the supreme court appoint a special master or masters to analyze the situation in more detail so the court “could tailor an order that sets a precise roadmap with identified tasks and deadlines.” The dissent pointed to the Arkansas Supreme Court's recent use of masters in that state's school funding case.

    As reported in The Idaho Statesman, legislators, including House Speaker Bruce Newcomb and Senate Education Committee Chair John Goedde, reacted positively to the decision and seemed optimistic about enacting a remedy. Plaintiffs' attorney Robert Huntley said that he thinks “the Legislature should pay for 30 percent of school bonds passed by voters and half the tab for maintaining school buildings,” according to The Idaho Statesman. That would amount to about $33 million to $38 million per year.

    In November 2006, Idaho voters rejected Proposition 1, a ballot initiative that called for a $200 million increase in education spending. According to The Idaho Statesman, the initiative, which was promoted by the Idaho Education Association, failed by a margin of 54% to 45%. Proponents of Proposition 1 initially called for a one-cent increase in the state sales tax to fund the increase, but the legislature enacted such a measure just months before the election. The additional funding sought under Proposition 1 would have been devoted to such things as class size reduction, school maintenance, staff salaries, and classroom supplies, according to The Idaho Statesman.

    In June, 2007, Idaho public schools sued the State Supreme Court in federal court to demand that the state court order a remedy in the case the districts won two years earlier.

    Useful Resources:

    Judge Bail's orders are available on the Fourth Judicial District's website.

  • lone wolf posted at 1:37 pm on Wed, Aug 22, 2012.

    lone wolf Posts: 246

    BOISE - The state of Idaho is paying $750,000 to former Transportation Director Pam Lowe to settle her wrongful-firing lawsuit, bringing the state’s total cost for the case to $1.34 million.

    “Based on the result of the lengthy mediation, the parties, without conceding liability or admitting any wrongdoing, and both parties simply wanting to buy their peace through the resolution of the lawsuit, have determined that it is in their respective best interests to reach a full and final … settlement of all disputes,” the settlement states.

    Terms of the settlement became available today after final papers were filed in federal court advising that the lawsuit has been resolved.

    Lowe, the department’s first female director, charged she was fired without cause, because she resisted political pressure to avoid reducing a giant contract with a politically well-connected firm; she also alleged gender discrimination.

    The settlement includes a glowing job recommendation for Lowe, signed by the chairman of the Idaho Transportation Board.

    Lowe, a professional engineer, was a longtime ITD employee, starting there in 1993 and rising to director in January of 2007. She was named the department’s first female district engineer in 2000.

    She was fired in 2009, after she clashed with staffers for Gov. Butch Otter and with some lawmakers over her efforts to cut back a multimillion-dollar contract with two well-connected Idaho firms to oversee major bonded highway construction projects across the state. Lowe was trying to trim the $50 million Connecting Idaho Partners contract to less than $30 million; it has since ballooned to more than $83 million.

    The lead firm, URS, formerly Washington Group, was a big donor to Otter’s election campaigns, as well as to that of then-Senate Transportation Chairman John McGee, R-Caldwell. Lowe said the governor’s chief of staff pressured her not to reduce the contract, and when she resisted, McGee introduced legislation to strip the Idaho Transportation Board of the ability to hire and fire the director. The bill didn’t pass, but the ITD board was concerned; four months later, it fired Lowe.

    “I had more than one board member tell me that it was McGee and it was blackmail,” Lowe told The Spokesman-Review in April. “They had no reason other than pure politics to terminate me.”

    The lawsuit settlement includes a “non-disparagement” clause, requiring both sides to refrain from disparaging the other.

    Lowe started work in March as financial director for the state Department of Transportation in Delaware, after two and a half years of unemployment.

    Terms of the $750,000 settlement call for $187,500 to go to Lowe’s attorneys, the employment law firm of Strindberg and Scholnick, while the remainder, $562,500, goes to Lowe. The state will pay the full amount to an annuity Lowe has purchased, which eventually will make monthly payments to her.

    The settlement also includes a “non-disparagement” clause, requiring both sides to refrain from disparaging the other.

    The state’s total cost also includes the $590,833 bill it’s already paid to the private law firm it hired to defend it against Lowe’s lawsuit, according to information obtained under the Idaho Public Records Law; more bills may yet come due.

    After three years of fighting the lawsuit, with former Idaho State Bar President Newal Squyres of the Boise firm Holland and Hart as its lead attorney, the state had lost at every turn. Both sides agreed to mediation in July, and the settlement was reached, but at that point, the state insisted on a confidentiality clause, preventing any of its terms from being revealed.

    Prior to the filing of the final documents with the court today, the confidentiality clause was lifted; the state already faced numerous public records requests from reporters and members of the public asking for the terms of the settlement.

  • lone wolf posted at 1:35 pm on Wed, Aug 22, 2012.

    lone wolf Posts: 246

    Middle class share of America's income shrinking
    By HOPE YEN, Associated Press – 44 minutes ago
    WASHINGTON (AP) — The middle class is receiving less of America's total income, declining to its smallest share in decades as median wages stagnate in the economic doldrums and wealth concentrates at the top.

    A study released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center highlights diminished hopes, too, for the roughly 50 percent of adults defined as middle class, with household incomes ranging from $39,000 to $118,000. The report describes this mid-tier group as suffering its "worst decade in modern history," having fallen backward in income for the first time since the end of World War II.

    Three years after the recession technically ended, middle class Americans are still feeling the economic pinch, with most saying they have been forced to reduce spending in the past year. And fewer now believe that hard work will allow them to get ahead in life. Families are now more likely to say their children's economic future will be the same or worse than their own.

    In all, 85 percent of middle class Americans say it is more difficult now than a decade ago to maintain their standard of living. Some 62 percent say a lot of the blame lies with Congress. A slight majority say a lot lies with banks and other financial institutions. Just 8 percent blame the middle class itself.

    "The job market is changing, our living standards are falling in the middle, and middle-income parents are now afraid that their children will be worse off than they are," says Timothy Smeeding, a University of Wisconsin-Madison economics professor who specializes in income inequality.

    He said that many middle-income families have taken a big hit in the past decade as health care costs increase, mid-wage jobs disappear due to automation and outsourcing and college tuition mounts for those seeking to build credentials to get better work. In the meantime, more-affluent families have fared better in net worth because they are less dependent than lower-income groups on home property values, which remain shriveled after the housing bust. Wealthier Americans are more likely to be invested in the stock market, which as a whole has been quicker to recover from the downturn.

    "These are the disaffected middle class who work hard and play by the rules of society, but increasingly see their situation declining by forces beyond their control," Smeeding said in an interview. "No matter who is president, the climb back up for the middle class and the recovery will be slow and often painful."

    The Pew study is just the latest indicator of a long-term trend of widening U.S. income inequality. The Census Bureau reported last year that income fell for the wealthiest — down 1.2 percent to $180,810 for the top 5 percent of households. But the bottom fifth of households — those making $20,000 or less — saw incomes decline 4 percent.

    The new study reviewed 2010 data from the Census Bureau and Federal Reserve, defining "middle class" as the tier of adults whose household income falls between two-thirds and double the national median income, or $39,418 to $118,255 in 2010 for a family of three. By this definition, "middle class" makes up about 51 percent of U.S. adults, down from 61 percent in 1971.

    In 1970, the share of U.S. income that went to the middle class was 62 percent, while wealthier Americans received just 29 percent. But by 2010, the middle class garnered 45 percent of the nation's income, tying a low first reached in 2006, compared to 46 percent for upper-income Americans.

    Since 2000, the median income for America's middle class has fallen from $72,956 to $69,487.

    "The notion that the middle class always enjoys a rising standard of living is a big part of America's sense of itself. And in modern times, it's always been true — until now," said Paul Taylor, executive vice president of the Pew Research Center.

    "Middle class Americans still have faith in the future — their own, their children's, the country's. But their outlook is not as rosy now as it was before the recession began," he added.

    Among the findings:

    —Who's to blame: Of the self-described middle-class Americans who say it is more difficult now than it was a decade ago to maintain a standard of living, 62 percent say "a lot" of the blame lies with Congress. About 54 percent say the same about banks and financial institutions, while 47 percent say large corporations, 44 percent point to the Bush administration, 39 percent cite foreign competition and 34 percent find fault with the Obama administration. About 8 percent say the middle class itself deserves a lot of the blame.

    —Feeling pinched: About 62 percent of middle-class Americans say they were forced to reduce household spending in the past year, compared to 53 percent who said so in 2008. Separately, roughly 42 percent of middle-class adults say their household's financial situation is worse now than before the recession began, compared to 32 percent who reported they are now better off and 23 percent who said their finances are unchanged. Of those who said they were worse off now, about 51 percent said it will take at least five years to recover, including 8 percent who said they will never recover.

    —Diminished hopes: About 63 percent of the general public — including 67 percent of the middle class — agree that most people who want to get ahead can make it if they're willing to work hard, down from 74 percent of the public who believed so in 1999. As for their children's future, 43 percent in the middle class say their children's standard of living will be better than their own, compared to 47 percent who say it will be worse (26 percent) or the same (21 percent). In 2008, 51 percent said their children's future would be better, compared to 19 percent who said worse and 21 percent who said it would be the same.

    —Picking a president: About 52 percent of self-described middle-class adults say President Barack Obama's policies in a second term would help the middle class, while 39 percent say they would not help. In contrast, about 42 percent say that electing Republican challenger Mitt Romney would help the middle class, while 40 percent said it would not help. People who identify as middle class are more likely to lean Democratic (50 percent) than Republican (39 percent).

    —Declining wealth: Median net worth for the middle class fell 28 percent over the last decade, from $129,000 in 2001 to $93,000, wiping out two decades of gains. Among upper-income families, net worth edged higher from $569,000 to $574,000. Lower-income families saw net worth fall 45 percent to $10,000.

    The Pew survey involved telephone interviews with 2,508 adults, including 1,287 people who identified themselves as middle class, conducted from July 16 to 26. The margin of error was 2.8 percentage points for the total sample, 3.9 percentage points for those in the middle class.

  • lone wolf posted at 4:45 pm on Mon, Aug 20, 2012.

    lone wolf Posts: 246

    Proposition 204 for Idaho???????

    (AZ) - The Arizona Supreme Court upheld the Constitutional right of Arizonans to vote this November on Prop. 204 - Quality Education and Jobs. The justices rejected arguments by anti-education legislators, lobbyists and Secretary of State Ken Bennett, all of whom tried to keep this popular citizens' initiative from reaching the ballot.

    "This is a huge victory for Arizona voters and a huge victory for Arizona schoolchildren," said Ann-Eve Pedersen, a volunteer parent leading the Prop. 204 - Quality Education and Jobs campaign. "This really was a case of powerful political forces vs. the people of Arizona - and the people of Arizona won thanks to an unbiased judiciary," said Pedersen.

    "This court victory clears the path to victory on Election Day, when we will be able to assure a generation of children and beyond that their education is a priority in our state," Pedersen said.

    The Quality Education and Jobs initiative will renew the one-cent sales tax when it expires in 2013 to provide dedicated permanent revenue for education that the Legislature cannot cut. Prop. 204 will support education across the spectrum: K-12, charter schools, vocational education, community colleges, universities and GED programs.

    Prop. 204 has been endorsed by a wide array of business, education, and community organizations. It is opposed by a small group of anti-education legislators and their lobbyist-allies who don't want taxpayers to have control over how their tax dollars are spent.

    The campaign legal team, headed by former Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Stanley Feldman, successfully argued that Bennett's arbitrary decision to reject the campaign's petitions on a hyper-technicality was unconstitutional. On July 18, Maricopa County Judge Robert Oberbillig agreed and ordered Bennett to place the measure on the ballot after a brief 25-minute hearing. Bennett was urged by special interests to appeal that decision to the Arizona Supreme Court, which he did. Anti-education legislators and lobbying groups filed "Friend of the Court" briefs urging the court to throw Prop. 204 off the ballot.

    In contesting this matter before the courts over the past month using flawed legal arguments, Bennett has exposed the state to significant legal costs. Under Arizona law, because Bennett lost the case at the Superior Court and Supreme Court levels, the courts could order the state to pay all legal and court costs.

    While the legal case was pending, the petition validation process continued and is almost complete. Reports from Arizona counties show that Prop. 204 has more than enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.

    "Today's court decision allows the volunteer-led coalition of business leaders, students, parents, educators and community organizations to move on with the important work of passing Prop. 204 - Quality Education and Jobs - on Nov. 6," Pedersen said.

    Read more: KCSG Television - Arizona Supreme Court Upholds Voter Rights

  • bullman3 posted at 11:16 pm on Thu, Aug 16, 2012.

    bullman3 Posts: 142

    Why should the property owners be only ones paying for school projects.? Are ther no children in any other class of public.?

  • bullman3 posted at 11:15 pm on Thu, Aug 16, 2012.

    bullman3 Posts: 142

    The people who try to eek out a living and pay taxs are getting fewer.

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