Education

Voters back West Ada levy

Bill and Carolyn Reese note their voting with stickers at Lowell Scott Middle School. In a school district marked by school board controversy, voters in West Ada School District went to the polls today, Nov. 3, to vote on a $14 million-a-year supplemental levy for two years.
Bill and Carolyn Reese note their voting with stickers at Lowell Scott Middle School. In a school district marked by school board controversy, voters in West Ada School District went to the polls today, Nov. 3, to vote on a $14 million-a-year supplemental levy for two years. kjones@idahostatesman.com

West Ada School District voters favored classroom instruction over boardroom politics as they leaned toward passage of a $14 million-a-year, two-year levy Tuesday.

The vote was 59 in favor and 41 percent opposed.

A levy that has passed with little controversy in two previous elections became a focal point after a newly seated board of trustees and then-superintendent Linda Clark butted heads for nearly four months before she resigned Oct.23

Several observers worried that the disruption would play out at the ballot box, where voters would shut their wallets to a levy until harmony returned to the district.

The vote reaffirms “that our patrons certainly value the education that is received in West Ada School District and will support that when asked,” said Joe Yochum, interim superintendent.

Election results reflected what a sampling of voters at Eagle Hills Elementary and Lowell Scott Middle School told a Statesman reporter Tuesday morning.

“I’m always 100 percent behind the school children,” said Bill Reese, who voted at Lowell Scott.

His wife Carolyn, who liked Clark, called the board problems a “fluffy silly thing.”

Carla Phillips was torn over the levy. On one hand, she’s not happy with how the board has handled itself. On the other, she has a student at Galileo STEM Academy in Eagle.

“I went back and forth,” Phillips said. But finally, “it’s about the kids. We have to put this drama aside.”

The $14 million-a-year levy pays for nine instructional days and about 40 teachers, both of which were on the cutting board when the state slashed funding to public education during the Great Recession.

NAMPA LEVY PASSES

Nampa voters decided to pay more for their schools. Voters bought into the trustees’ plan to raise the levy to $7.7 million a year for two years.

“This is a significant investment on the part of the community,” said Brian McGourty, Nampa School District board chairman. “I believe it is a vote of confidence.”

Supporters say the dollars will restore 10 additional teaching jobs that were cut, put the district on a schedule to renew curriculum materials every six years and update antiquated technology. The levy also wold keep in place paying for 14 schools days and 25 teachers that were cut when the state sliced the education budget during the recession.

Increasing the levy would raise Nampa District’s property tax rate by $25 per $100,000 of taxable value.

CALDWELL RECALL

Two trustees were recalled in Caldwell School District. They are Zone 1 Trustee Amy Rojas and Zone 5 Trustee Leif Skyving. Both faced recall after a June vote that removed Superintendent Tim Rosandick and Assistant Superintendent Luci Asumendi from their contracts.

Both trustees say they faced a tough decision and could not disclose “sensitive personal information” about the decision.

Vallivue School District levy: The district’s $4.5 million levy passed.

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