WSD levy jumps to $750,000

Signal American staff
With a full field of candidates on the upcoming May 21 primary ballot, voters will also be considering a $750,000 Weiser School District supplemental levy.
 Unsure what state property tax relief is going to look like coming out of the Idaho Legislature and how it might apply to school districts this year, Weiser School District’s board began talking about renewing a current $350,000 supplemental levy late last fall.
 By early March, it became clear that the surface at Weiser High School’s all-weather track is a hazard for athletes since its last repair seven years ago. The unanticipated turn of events came just in time to add the cost of a full replacement of the facility to the upcoming proposed levy election.
 During the March 11 Board of Trustees meeting, Superintendent Kenneth Dewlen’s levy description started with the original budget items the district’s levy has been covering.
 “There’s full-day kindergarten,” Dewlen said. “We are still paying for half of the salaries (for teachers) and the state pays for half. Sports hasn’t changed either, we are still paying for our no-pay-to-play for student athletes.”
 A new line in the levy includes funds for technology equipment upgrades.
 “What this is, we have to pay 30 percent of our E-rate, the money we get from the state pays 70 percent,” Dewlen added. “It goes for new internet, and in the back of the house, new switches, new network, and when we come back in the fall, we should have no (technology) issues.
 “Since our last meeting, this is $400,000 for a new high school track,” he explained. “The last repair was seven years ago, and we were told then it was only good for five, so we extended that by two years already. Right now, the track is unserviceable, it’s dangerous, and it affects more than 150 of our student athletes, in both high school and middle school.
 “We need it if we want to stay competitive in 3A track and field,” Dewlen said. “Replacing it will give us a new base; we will redo the drainage system and the infield sprinkler systems.”
 In addition to the track, they hope to add a 40-foot by 80-foot field house just west of the track and in what is now a grassy area between the school parking lot and south side of the varsity softball field.
 “There would be indoor plumbing to serve all of the sports that are played in that complex,” Dewlen said. “The fieldhouse would be a dedicated area for cheer practices. Right now, they have to practice early in the morning or late at night. And, we could get the batting cages out of the armory, and it could serve golf and tennis in there. We’ve got some people we’ve been talking to that maybe, maybe, will make a donation.”
 WHS Principal Drew Dickerson added that the current softball scoreboard would be moved.
 “That’s probably another conversation,” Dickerson said. “I believe that scoreboard is run by Daktronics, and the software is getting more and more hard to find. It’s pretty old. We have a water drainage issue that comes off of that field and goes across Paddock Ave. We wouldn’t have to water that area anymore, so we’d have less drainage.”
 The higher two-year levy is expected to cost taxpayers $85.56 per $100,000 of taxable assessed value, an increase of $45.63 over the $39.93 per $100,000 taxable value they have been paying.  
 Later in the meeting, a motion to put the supplemental levy and resolution on the upcoming May 21, 2024 ballot received unanimous approval by the board.


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