On March 14, Boiseans will have the opportunity to vote on a $172 million Boise School District bond — and we are encouraging everyone to vote YES.
This bond will not raise the current tax rate. It will, however, allow us to reinvest in our neighborhood schools. The bond includes improvements and needed repairs for every school in the district. Among other things, critical job training programs will be expanded; a new elementary school in Harris Ranch will be built to reduce overcrowding at existing elementaries; six outdated elementary school buildings will be replaced with modern schools reflecting today’s best practices in classrooms and technology; and two high schools and two junior highs will be improved to eliminate disparities between schools.
While these are only some of the potential improvements and expansions that the bond will fund, the list demonstrates the deep and important need for funding at this time. As adults, we all know the importance of proactive responsibility. These strategic projects help address critical facility problems now so they don’t cost us, as taxpayers, more later.
The bond will also enable Boise School District to reduce overcrowding. Parents and educators agree that small class sizes are a critical component of the district’s success story, as research has shown that “reduced class size is related to higher academic performance.” (U.S. Department of Education) Currently, some schools are using portables to address overcrowding, yet this is a safety concern to local police. Some school parking lots overflow into busy streets at critical times, further creating safety issues.
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Many of us enjoy the charming, historical nature of Boise schools, but older buildings are now presenting challenges as teachers and administrators work to modernize classrooms and use best practices in education and technology. Nearly half of our schools were built between 1912 and 1960, well before personal computers were invented (and even before lunch was served at school). Passing this bond will provide the funds necessary to bring our classrooms and buildings up to modern standards while ensuring these facilities are accessible to all, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The Editorial Board of the Statesman has voiced their support of the bond, as has Boise Mayor David Bieter and the Boise City Council, the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Boise Regional Realtors, the Boise Education Association, the Boise Public Schools Foundation, and multiple Boise school PTOs and PTAs. They know that supporting this bond isn’t just about supporting a specific school or classroom; it’s about supporting all Boise kids and the entire Boise community.
We strongly encourage all Boiseans to come out and vote YES on March 14th.
Dana Zuckerman, Sue Lovelace and Carrie Hastriter are co-chairs of “Yes for Boise Schools Bond Campaign.”