Nampa School District taxpayers will be asked to increase their property taxes to help schools hire more teachers, and pay for more materials and athletics and activities costs in a supplemental levy election Nov.3.
The board unanimously agreed to ask voters to approve a $7.7 million-a-year levy for two years, which would raise school property taxes by $25 per $100,000 of taxable value. The estimated total tax rate for bonds, supplements and a levy covering legal costs would be $448 per $100,000 of taxable value.
Board members earlier rejected a proposal that would have doubled the existing supplemental levy to $6.7 million a year for two years, while leaving the district’s total tax rate unchanged at $423 per $100,000 of taxable value. Rising property values and money in the district’s bond fund would keep the tax rate stable.
Trustee Mandy Simpson, a former Nampa Education Association president, urged the board to take a risk and dig deeper to help children.
"I think we really have to set these kids up for success," Simpson said. Voting for a levy "at the bottom of the barrel just doesn't feel right."
The board also rejected a $9 million a year proposal that would have raised taxes $45 per $100,000.
The proposed levy approved by the board would keep intact paying for 14 days teachers were furloughed during the height of the district's fiscal crisis in 2013-2014. It would also keep 25 teaching position that were staffed with the existing levy. The levy also would pay for restoring 10 additional teaching jobs lost during the recession, put the district on a schedule to renew curriculum material every six years, update antiquated technology and cover some athletic and activity equipment costs.
Some trustees worried that the higher rate would create a backlash from taxpayers who don't want their property taxes increased.
A survey of more than 800 Nampa residents showed 69 percent of respondents supported the $7.7 million levy idea. But 85 percent said they would support doubling the existing levy, which would also have improved curriculum materials and technology.