School district levy fails by narrow margin

Members of the Weiser School District discuss their next move following a plant and facilities levy that missed voter approval by 1.99 percent. The board voted to put the issue before the public again in May. Photo by Philip A. Janquart
Philip A. Janquart
 A $2 million Weiser School District plant and facilities levy was voted down on March 14.
 Of 5,882 registered voters in Washington County, a total of 647 cast their votes, with 343 in favor of the measure and 304 voting against. The levy needed a 55 percent supermajority in order to pass.
 Midvale and Cambridge residents did not participate in last week’s levy vote.
 “Although a majority of voters in the WSD voted in favor of a proposed WSD Plant and Facilities Levy … the elections fell 1.99 percent short of the required approval rate in order to pass,” stated WSD Superintendent Wade Wilson in a March 15 letter to district patrons.
 “We appreciate those who braved the weather and who took the time to consider the proposal,” he wrote. “The Board of Trustees will consider their options for addressing Plant and Facility needs and identified priorities in the Weiser School District in the coming days and weeks. Current funds, as they remain available, will continue to be used to address priorities throughout the District.”
 The levy asked for $500,000 per year for four years to address plant and facility priorities, which included security measures for the entrances of all schools in the district, water mitigation for foundations and roofs, and asphalt, as well as other issues.
 Cost to homeowners would have been $59.44 per $100,000 in taxable value. The levy would have replaced a 2015 levy that expires in June 2023.
 The WSD Board of Directors met in a special meeting on Monday to address its next steps in the wake of the levy’s failure.
 Wilson said that without the levy and if no additional funds are received by the state, the levy amount would have to be absorbed in the district’s general funds, in which case he said the district would, “have some hard decisions to make.”
 He added, 
 “Really the only place where there is room is staff. Our greatest expense in the district is staffing.”
 After discussion on potential answers, the board ultimately voted to put the levy before the public again in May. Instead of the previous request for $500,000 per year for four years, the board voted for a levy that is similar to the 2015 levy that was based on $310,000 per year and cost approximately $36.85 per $100,000 in taxable value.
 More accurate details on May’s levy will be provided as it becomes available.
 Board members acknowledged that it cannot rely on any further state funding above what it is already receiving.


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18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
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