Nearly every time schools in Idaho face some type of financial issue, the same questions comes up: Why can’t the lottery money that goes to schools take care of that?
Those questions are surfacing again as schools dig out from record snow in the past weeks that contributed to leaky roofs, broken pipes and a costly bill to get the stuff off school driveways and parking lots.
The simple answer is, it’s not that simple.
For fiscal year 2016, Idaho districts received a total of $18.5 million.
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West Ada School District, the biggest in the state, got $2.3 million in lottery money for fiscal year 2016. But that money comes with strings set by the Legislature. The money can be used for school maintenance and improvements. Snow removal, which was estimated to cost West Ada schools $239,000 through Jan.10, doesn’t qualify, said Eric Exline, district spokesman said.
Kuna School District’s snow-removal bill so far this winter is about $17,000; Boise School District, about $15,000.
Maintenance problems as the result of snow damage may qualify, but those damages often are covered by insurance. West Ada schools, which suffered a broken pipe at Heritage Middle School in the middle of the storm, might qualify, Exline said. West Ada’s deductible is $10,000 per building per year. Exline expects the cost at Heritage to go beyond that.
How much lottery money did some other local districts get? Boise $1.5 million; Nampa $899,095; Vallivue: $504,023; and Caldwell $385,456.