Idaho school districts are collecting more than $180 million in voter-approved supplemental levies in 2014-15.
This represents almost a 4 percent decrease from 2013-14, when districts collected more than $188 million in supplemental levies. But the dropoff can be explained by reduced levies in three of the state’s largest districts. Across the state, levy elections are more commonplace than ever.
The supplemental levy trend is a talking point in the perennial debate over Idaho school funding — a debate that will resume in one week, when the 2015 legislative session convenes and newly re-elected Gov. Butch Otter presents his ninth state budget request. During the Great Recession, large and small school districts have used the supplemental levies to replace funding cut from state K-12 budgets.
According to the current numbers, compiled by the State Department of Education, districts are continuing to rely on supplemental levies, even as state K-12 spending increases.
Ninety-three of Idaho’s 115 school districts have supplemental levies on the books in 2014-15, up from 91 districts in 2013-14. A decade ago, only 54 districts had supplemental levies on the books.
To learn more, here's a link to my full story at Idaho Education News.