Idaho $1.5 million school bond fails by 5 votes

Idaho $1.5 million school bond fails by 5 votes

Idaho $1.5 million school bond fails by 5 votes

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by STEPHANIE ZEPELIN, KTVB

KREM.com

Posted on August 28, 2014 at 7:38 PM

WENDELL -- Several school districts ran bonds or levies in this week's election, including the Wendell School District.

Superintendent Greg Lowe said with state cuts in the last five or six years, it's become more difficult to maintain and repair facilities.

"This is my 11th year and I do think it's somewhat of a changing of times," said Lowe. "There's been responsibility given to our local taxpayers with supplemental and plant facility levies."

Wendell Schools have a fairly new elementary and middle school, but the facilities at their high school are in need of some help. The district ran a $1.5 million dollar bond for what they say are immediate needs, and it only failed by about five votes.

"It's kind of like losing a basketball game in double overtime," said Lowe. "It's pretty hard to lose it that close."

The roof is about forty years old, and is leaking into the ceiling. Sheetrock is even falling down in their concession stand and furnace room, threatening their electrical wiring.

They also need a new HVAC system. Their facilities manager said the 11 furnaces are never all working at the same time. Sometimes they have as few as seven working furnaces.

"We have graduation here and that gym is just completely full with of people, and they're all with fans," Lowe said. "Its hot, it's hot in May."

It gets cold for spectators in the winter and there is no air conditioning in the summer.

The bond money would have also gone towards fixing the parking lot. There are potholes so large that they create puddles. Puddles so large that one is referred to by students as "Lake Trojan."

They also need to fix the roof on the classroom buildings. The teal protective coat is coming off and if the steel roof rusts, it will have to be replaced entirely.

Now the district has to decide how to fix those immediate needs.

"We want to go out to the community and listen and talk and see what they didn't understand," said Lowe. "There was about 65% approval, almost. So that means there is some support out there, but there's also some folks that need some questions answered."

Superintendent Lowe said he thinks they could pass the bond if the school board decided to run it against this November. They have to submit paperwork to get it on the ballot by next Friday. He believes the low voter turnout severely hurt them.

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