Lakeland, Kootenai approve proposals - Coeur d'Alene Press: Political

Lakeland, Kootenai approve proposals

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Posted: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 12:15 am

Voters in the Lakeland and Kootenai school districts on Tuesday night approved measures that fund facility improvements.

Lakeland voters approved a plant facility levy of $800,000 per year for five years that will fund building repairs, energy efficiency improvements, equipment, buses and classroom furniture.

The voting included 1,174 for the proposal - for 60.52 percent approval - and 766 against the levy. Fifty-five percent approval was needed for the levy to pass.

Kootenai voters passed a $2 million bond levy for a wastewater treatment project.

Those in favor of the bond were 251 (76.06 percent) and 79 were against. A vote of 66 and two-thirds percent approval was needed for the bond to pass.

Lakeland voters in March turned down a plant facility levy of $905,000 per year for 10 years. The proposal obtained 53 percent approval. While at the polls, voters approved a supplemental levy by about the same margin.

Tom Taggart, Lakeland's finance director, said he believes that having one question on the ballot made a difference with voters.

"We felt that having this on the ballot by itself allowed us to focus on this and explain it better," Taggart said. "We were able to answer some questions better."

Taggart said the district would have had to dip into the General Fund if the levy hadn't passed.

"This is a big relief," he said. "This will allow us to go into the year feeling pretty good and plan."

Even with the levy, the overall amount of property tax levied by Lakeland will decrease 11 percent next year due to other levies being reduced or eliminated.

If the measure had failed, taxes on a $175,000 home after the homeowner's exemption would have been reduced an additional $37 per year.

With the Kootenai measure, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality mandated that the district make system improvements because the current lagoon lacks a liner to prevent seepage.

With the bond, the district will buy land for a new lagoon and meet land application requirements for treated effluent.

"We would like to thank our community for their strong support in the bond levy election and their willingness to maintain the financial support of the school, especially in these difficult economic times," Kootenai Superintendent Lynette Ferguson said. "Passage of this bond allows the district to fulfill the requirements of the Department of Environmental Quality wastewater compliance agreement enabling the districts continued operation."

In the spring of 2008 and 2011, the lagoon was overtopping and had to be pumped to prevent overspill.

Even with the levy, taxes in the district will slightly decrease due to the Kootenai High School bond that is expiring this year.

To pay for the bond, the owner of a $100,000 home, less the homeowners exemption, will pay about $22.50 per year for 10 years. The owner of a $200,000 home will pay an estimated $52.21 per year.

The lagoon the district currently uses was constructed in 1977. The storage capacity is undersized for the permitted facility and the chlorine system does not consistently meet disinfection requirements, according to the district.

Neither of the school district measures can be used for salaries or operating expenses.

Idaho is one of the few states that does give funding support for building schools and renovations. School districts are expected to finance such projects with general obligation bonds or plant facility levies authorized by local voters.

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  • thereisnozero posted at 11:58 am on Mon, Sep 3, 2012.

    thereisnozero Posts: 26

    Idaho has one of the lowest expenditures per student of any state. For perspective, the private school that I attended spends around $60,000 per student. That is pretty extreme and not a necessary amount for a good education, but it still shows that private school tuition does not cover all of the expenses for a student's education. It is more expensive than it looks.

  • taxpayer posted at 1:43 pm on Fri, Aug 31, 2012.

    taxpayer Posts: 343

    the is afraid to put the vote on nov ballot, they want a lesser known date for less turnout and better chance to pass, they want to sneak it by the taxpayers

  • T Taggart posted at 8:13 am on Fri, Aug 31, 2012.

    T Taggart Posts: 13

    1) In 2008 we received $24,328,730 from state and federal sources. In 2012 we received $21,271,018.
    2) There is more work required than what one person can do. Compared to districts of similar size our central office staffing is low. With the move toward standardized testing and strong accountability for schools and districts from both the state and federal government, the amount of work has increased dramatically. Having one superintendent, one assistant, and a business manager is not being top heavy.
    2) Cont: We have two high schools each in a different classification. We have one person at Lakeland High who also helps with other administrative duties and we have a half time AD at Timberlake. He also teaches half time.
    3) It is important to understand the different types of levies school districts use. The one we just passed can only be used for capital expenses. This has included many different uses from equipment, roofs, heating equipment, septic systems repairs, radon mitigation, buses, and building upgrades and remodels. We used it to make our oldest building, Mountain View Alternative High School, more energy efficient, with new windows a new roof and upgraded technology. This allows us to continue to use a 75 year old building in a very effective manner.

  • local res posted at 9:02 pm on Thu, Aug 30, 2012.

    local res Posts: 1165

    Mr. Taggart thank you for your swift reply, a few more questions.

    1. If you are spending the same per student as in 2008, how much per student comes into the district from the federal government and state government per child in 2008 and now in 2012?
    2. Why is there more than one superintendent and more than one athletic director?
    3. In regards to the previous levies passed for maintenance, was the money strictly spent on general up keep?

  • T Taggart posted at 2:52 pm on Thu, Aug 30, 2012.

    T Taggart Posts: 13

    1) The amount per student you use includes all funds including bond payments, grants, equipment, special services, etc. Some students require a much greater share of the budget than others. However it is computed, the amount we spend per student is at the very bottom of what the average per student cost nationally.
    2) We are spending the same amount per student now as we were in 2008. Costs have gone up during that time, and our budget has gone down.
    3) Each private school and each charter is different. Without knowing the specific school it's hard to say. Many times those schools are not faced with the same mix of students. We are required to provide services to ALL students.
    4) The language on the ballot is what is in Idaho code. Our 50 year history with this levy should provide some indication of how it will be used.
    5) We have one superintendent and one Asst. Superintendent.
    6) Lakeland High School has 1.33 assistant principals and one athletic director who also performs some asst principal duties.
    7) Lakeland High school has one athletic director who also helps in other administrative areas. Timberlake has a half time athletic director who also teaches half time.
    8) I am not sure what you are specifically talking about here. We have counselors, speech and language specialists, psychologists, and instructional coaches who may have master degrees and are not assigned a specific classroom.

    If you really want to find out the accurate information you could always call and schedule a time to discuss your concerns.

    As always I can be reached at 687-0431 or

  • local res posted at 10:22 pm on Wed, Aug 29, 2012.

    local res Posts: 1165

    The student funding per child is over $7000. Or $7000 times 30 students = $210,000 per class room. When will this amount be enough?
    Why can a child attend a private or charter school for less money?
    If this Levy was for only maintenance, why did it also include language to purchase, pay on old loans?
    Why does a district this size need 3 Superintendents?
    Why does the Lakeland High School need 3 assistant principles?
    Why does this district need 2 full time Athletic Directors.
    Why does this district employ teachers with a Master Degree who are not assigned to a classroom?
    Can Mr. Taggert answer these questions?

  • local res posted at 10:07 pm on Wed, Aug 29, 2012.

    local res Posts: 1165

    I found it interesting that the school had the vote on the same day of meet the teacher and find your class. Why was these elections not held in November?

  • 986crazy posted at 7:13 pm on Wed, Aug 29, 2012.

    986crazy Posts: 434

    "Idaho is one of the few states that does give funding support for building schools and renovations" Um...NOT.

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