Lake Pend Oreille School District has proposed a school levy to extract $56 million from our community to fund its facility expansions. This includes an addition to the existing high school, constructing a new middle school, an enormous athletic center for little jocks growing up, a “vo-tech school” addition to the Clark Fork High School with an extensive addition to its existing classrooms, as well as athletic fields and ìplay areasî for both Washington and Northside Elementary Schools.
The projected property tax rate on this levy beginning in 2017 would show an increase of $192 for a home valued at $100,000 home and up the scale to $1,344 for a home valued at $450,000. This levy is scheduled to be paid off in six years. The information that was not disclosed is that another levy follows, right after this one is paid. These are on top of their operational budget, which is 85 percent salary and benefits, that is already built into our property taxes.
In 2010-11 the number of K1-12 students were approximately 3,650, with a declining number of 3,588 in 2015-16. The 2015 population of Bonner County is 41,585. More than 10,000 of those are 65 and older. The estimated 24,500 taxpayers consist of 49 percent private wage earners, 49 percent self-employed and 2 percent are government workers (city-data.com). How many of these taxpayers are homeowners was not disclosed. A small portion of these 2 percent government workers (25 listed LPOSD members) are expecting that homeowners who already support their salaries and benefits, pay an additional $56 million dollars for 3,588 students a year.
Itís as if they are in denial of the rising costs of inflationóthe increases in healthcare, food, gas, utilities, insurance, taxes—while the current amount of tension in the United States is almost nuclear. People are already describing the intensity as akin to the brink of civil war. That a small percentage of 2 percent government workers want to impose an additional financial burden during these uncertain times, could not have come at a worse time.