With Boise School District’s easy passage of a $172.5 million bond Tuesday night, officials say they will take up four school construction projects as early as June.
In West Ada, voters gave the school district just over the 60 percent it needed to pass a $160 million facilities levy.
Kuna School District voters approved a $5 million supplemental levy and narrowly OK’d a $40 million construction bond — with what preliminarily looked like a 67.0 percent vote for a bond measure that required 66.7 percent.
“We are thrilled,” said David Reinhart, Kuna District spokesman. “Voters want the very best for our kids and they got out and voted when it counted.”
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Vallivue School District’s $20 million facilities levy went down to defeat; school officials say they may come back to voters in May.
In Boise, 86 percent of voters approved the bond measure.
“We are thrilled at the outcome,” said Sue Lovelace, co-chair of Friends of Boise Schools that raised $100,000 for a campaign to win voter approval. “Our first role is to get out and thank the people who made this happen.”
The big bond vote means the Boise district can begin work this summer on its priority projects:
▪ Expansion of the Dennis Professional-Technical Education Center to accommodate new programs in electrical, heating and air conditioning and plumbing.
▪ A 30,000-foot expansion of Timberline High School to handle growth in Southeast Boise, and future growth from Syringa Valley housing development south of Interstate 84, but in the Timberline attendance zone.
▪ Construction of a new Amity Elementary School to replace the 1979 building with an earthen roof plagued with leaks.
▪ Renovation of the old 1936 Boise High gym.
All of the projects are slated to be completed by fall 2018, except for the Boise gym which should be completed in November, 2018. The projects are the first of 22 major construction projects that are part of the bond voters approved. Others include a new elementary school at Harris Ranch in southeast Boise and replacement of five other aging elementary schools.
Don Coberly, district superintendent, promised the district would involve the community with each of these projects. “We will seek what they want moving forward,” he said.
Boise’s apparent victory follows an 18-month process by the district of evaluating buildings, holding public meets to discuss their findings and getting help from Friends of Boise Schools, which is not part of the district, to spread the word.
Voting was light, with an estimated 15 percent of registered voters expected to turn out, said Phil McGrane, Ada County chief deputy clerk, told the Idaho Statesman late Tuesday afternoon.
As of 3 p.m., many precincts had had about 100 voters. One precinct in the Vista neighborhood, had two.
“Voter turnout in the three bond and levy elections in Ada County is running slightly below expectations for financial issues going before voters,” McGrane said.
McGrane said he’s seen results in the high 20 percent range in previous votes where tax money was at stake.
Lack of a highly visible campaign in some districts may be a contributing factors, he added. Measures in Kuna, West Ada and Boise School District had no large, definable opposition.
A total of $395 million in bonds and levies were on the ballot in Boise, West Ada, Kuna and Vallivue districts.
Kuna School District
School officials asked voters for $40 million to refurbish and expand several schools and begin the first phase of construction of a new high school all to accommodate a projected increase of 700 students districtwide over the next three years. The $5 million supplemental levy over the next two years would pay for books, curriculum supplies and technology updates.
West Ada School District
Voters were asked to approve a $160 million levy over the next decade that would pay for small construction projects, expansion and maintenance in the fast-growing district. Among projects under consideration are gyms at Spalding STEM Academy and Pioneer School for the Arts; artificial turf replacement at Rocky Mountain High School; and a remodel for Meridian Middle School.
Statesman reporter Ruth Brown contributed.