Nampa school trustee election framed by financial woes

Voters could swing the direction of the city's school board on Tuesday.

broberts@idahostatesman.comMay 19, 2013 

  • VALLIVUE ASKS VOTERS FOR GROWING ROOM

    Students at Vallivue High School, trying to get from class to class, clog the hallways. Getting a seat in the cafeteria is tough.

    The school is full at 1,800 students, and district administrators expect more growth.

    Vallivue School District is asking voters for a $50 million bond for a second high school.

    The cost will be about $40 a year on a home valued at $115,000 and about $53 on a home with value of $150,000.

    A two-thirds majority is required for passage.

    Vallivue officials say they will have enough high school students to fill two schools with 1,200 student each by 2016, when the new school - if OK'd by voters - would be built.

  • ELECTION DAY: TUESDAY, MAY 21

    The Ada County ballot includes Greater Boise Auditorium District board; Meridian, Kuna and Melba school board; and West Boise and Eagle sewer directors.

    In Canyon County, voters will select trustees for Caldwell, Kuna, Melba, Meridian, Middleton, Nampa and Notus school districts (some districts straddle the two county lines). Commissioners for Canyon, Nampa and Golden Gate highway districts also are on the ballot, as well as school levies for Homedale, Parma, Vallivue and Wilder districts.

    Nampa and Meridian voters will decide whether to increase each city's respective city council from four members to six.

    Eagle voters will decide on a $1.2 million bond to purchase Eagle City Hall.

    Voting on Election Day:

    Æ Polls are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

    Æ Absentee ballots must be received at the elections office by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

    Æ If you are not yet registered to vote, you can register on Election Day at your polling place.

    Æ Call Ada County Elections at 287-6860 or Canyon County Elections at 454-7562 to confirm your polling place.

Nampa School District voters go to the polls Tuesday to decide who will hold the majority of the school board's five seats as the district wades through budgetary difficulties and a change of leadership.

A $2.3 million deficit trustees learned of last summer mushroomed to $5.1 million this year. Moreover, the district needs to knock $3 million out of its spending plan to avoid going deeper in the hole with next year's budget.

Superintendent Tom Michaelson was hired seven months ago to fix the budget problems led the district through several budget cuts and a vote by district taxpayers in March to come up with $4.3 million to ease the schools' red ink.

But problems have kept coming. The latest: Between 2004 and 2008, district administrators spent money on school operations that should have gone to a district bond fund. Now the district must pay it back with part of a $6.3 million loan it's taking out for cash flow.

If money problems weren't enough, some trustees began to soften their support for Michaelson. So Michaelson resigned, effective at the end of this month, and the board appointed Nampa High School Principal Pete Koehler as interim superintendent.

Michaelson's departure angered some trustee candidates, such as Brian McGourty, who thought the board wasn't making tough decisions. Bob Otten, an incumbent facing re-election, did not support Michaelson.

Voters will elect trustees from three zones:

ZONE 3

Bob Otten, retired Nampa Schools educator, incumbent.

Clayton Trehal, a teacher at Idaho Connects Online School based in Boise.

ZONE 4

Brian McGourty, former trustee; owner, Eyecare Associates of Nampa

Kimiko Rost, structural engineer

Cate Tedeski, small business owner

ZONE 5

Dale Wheeler, retired from Union Pacific Railroad, incumbent

Mike Fuller, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints seminary instructor.

Bill Roberts: 377-6408, Twitter: @IDS_BillRoberts

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