By A group of concerned citizens of Bonner County
(see names below)
Without the current school levy, the effect on Bonner County’s schools and economy would be devastating. All extra-curricular activities will be eliminated—along with 300 jobs.
The upcoming vote on the school levy is not a way to collect more taxes from Bonner County residents; it simply continues the current funding for schools. Lake Pend Oreille School District’s (LPOSD) school tax rate is 48 percent below the state average, and LPOSD’s tax rate has dropped by 4.9 percent in the last 4 years, according to Lake Pend Oreille School District. What’s more, LPOSD projects cutting $600,000 next year, yet Bonner County’s schools continue to be some of the highest performing schools in the state and in the region.
For the average homeowner in Bonner County, owning a home valued at $250,000, the current levy amounts to about $22 a month (with homeowner’s exemption). For this homeowner, the increase next year would be about 50 cents more per month; in the following year, it would be approximately another 50 cents more per month. So in two years, the increase would be about $12 a year.
Many people may not be aware of the consequences in the event that this levy is eliminated. According to Lake Pend Oreille School District the following cuts would be necessary:
All extracurricular activities will be eliminated. ALL of them. There would be no more high school football, no more middle school basketball, no more choir, band or theater.
Secondary elective courses would be eliminated. That means courses such as CAD Drafting, which are helping our high school students get jobs right out of high school, could be eliminated.
Rural schools would be closed by year two. This includes Clark Fork Jr./Sr. High School, Hope Elementary, Northside Elementary, and Southside Elementary. LPOSD and our community at large values our rural schools and recognizes the importance of these schools to our rural communities. It would be impossible to keep these schools open due to the deep staffing cuts and lack of funding.
Elementary schools will be consolidated and there will be double-shifting, resulting in some students starting their school day possibly as early as 6 a.m., while other students would be going to school from afternoon to early evening.
One-third of the school district’s’ staff would be laid off. That is 300 hundred jobs in Bonner County.
The effects on our local economy would be devastating. With the loss of Coldwater Creek and the imminent loss of Thorne jobs, our economy cannot afford the elimination of 300 more positions. This figure does not take into account families who would choose to leave our community due to lack of funding and support for local schools. What’s more, with poorly-funded schools, it will prove impossible to attract new businesses to the area. Bonner County’s schools are currently some of the highest performing schools in the state and in the region. To continue to attract new businesses, and quality employees to our existing businesses, our schools must stay competitive.
This levy is essential to maintaining quality schools in our community. Voting yes on the upcoming instructional supplemental levy will ensure our vibrant community continues to thrive.
About our organization:
We are an unaffiliated group of Bonner County residents – parents, grandparents, and others who view the continuation of the levy to fund our schools as essential to the quality of life in Bonner County.
Carlos and Debby Atencio
Daniel and Meggan Gunter
Sam and Virginia Howard
Christene DeVeny Lauzon
Linda Schleve Rammler
Jennifer Del Carlo
Rich Del Carlo
Donna and John Bagwell
Rebecca and Don Holland
Charles and Sylvia Humes
Vicky and Clyde Schilling
Greg and Betsy Walker
Jerry and Becky Snelson
Mary Catherine Role