Education

West Ada district to seek $95 million bond for new schools, plus $28 million levy

Voters in West Ada School District will go to the polls to vote on a $95 million bond and a two-year, $14 million supplemental levy come March 13.
Voters in West Ada School District will go to the polls to vote on a $95 million bond and a two-year, $14 million supplemental levy come March 13. kjones@idahostatesman.com

The West Ada School District board of trustees has approved resolutions to ask voters to approve a $95 million bond – which includes about $60 million for a new high school – and a two-year supplemental levy of $14 million per year.

The board proposed to put the measures on the March 13 ballot.

The bond would fund the construction of two new schools and upgrades at other schools, and the supplemental levy would help maintain current programs and operations within the district, school district spokesman Eric Exline said in a recording of the district’s Nov. 14 meeting.

“Submitting a bond proposal is a serious and important thing that requires serious support amongst a lot of people – 66 and two-thirds (percent),” Exline said.

The board passed the resolutions for the bond and the supplemental levy unanimously. The levy rate is anticipated to remain $377 per $100,000 of taxable property value, Exline said. That’s because the state’s largest district anticipates continued growth in property values and the district’s ability to pay off its current debt, he said.

“West Ada, since the mid-90s, has had a very sound system of managing its bonds, its supplementals and its plant facilities levy in order to be able to have a constant or decreasing levy rate,” Exline said.

The district anticipates about $32 million in interest for the bond measure, according to the resolution. The bond requires a two-thirds supermajority to pass, while the supplemental levy requires a simple majority.

The supplemental levy would apply to the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years.

Exline said he studied a recent election in which the Kuna School District ran a bond and supplemental levy on the same date and noted that the district saw success doing that.

“What you have to be sure of is a solid bond campaign and the supplemental levy will take care of itself,” Exline said.

The levy would allow the district to continue to restore certified employees to previous levels and restore staff development days for teachers and others employed by the district, among other things, he said.

“It would maintain our current programs and operations,” Exline said. “It would allow us to continue our efforts to restore certified staffing to state levels ... and we want to continue to restore items that have been cut.”

Christina Lords: 208-377-6435, @ChristinaLords

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