By Cameron Rasmusson
Educators in West Bonner County School District are hoping the second time is the charm for a $3 million-per-year supplemental levy.
The levy proposal, which voters will consider on the May 21 ballot, is a second attempt after voters shut down the initial proposal in a March vote. This time around, the levy proposal will not be accompanied by a second question that made the March ballot, which asked to make the levy permanent. Under the existing system, voters must renew the levy every two years.
WBCSD officials argue the levy is an essential source of funding for local education, representing a quarter of the district’s budget. They also say it’s a fiscally conservative request that will decrease the levy rate from the previous levy. Residents of the school district will see their taxes drop from $7.33 to $6.13 per month for every $100,000 of property value with a homeowner’s exemption. West Bonner ranks as the lowest school tax rate in the region, coming in under Lake Pend Oreille and Lakeland school districts’ rates.
District officials say that school services, including extracurricular activities, transportation, school security and all core subjects, will suffer a heavy blow if the levy doesn’t pass. The district will be forced to make difficult cuts to staff, services like all-day kindergarten and programs boosting graduation rates and student achievement.
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