Plummer-Worley asking the State of Idaho for a new school

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by KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on November 20, 2009 at 4:28 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 20 at 6:27 PM

PLUMMER, Idaho - The Plummer-Worley School District is trying once again to replace its aging and unsafe elementary school, but after years of having bonds rejected by taxpayers, this time it is asking the state to pick up the tab.

The State of Idaho shut down Lakeside Elementary for safety reasons.  Those students moved into the middle school.  Middle school students moved into the high school.

 

"We were very fortunate to have the room at all," said Judi Sharrett, the district’s superintendent.

 

60% of the elementary students are in portables.

 

"If we have an unsafe environment or a situation where we have too many kids in one location, that's not a good permanent solution," said Sharrett.

 

The district tried to get a permanent solution, but each bond election was rejected.

 

Last week, it became the first district in Idaho to ask the state for help.

 

A 2006 law allows districts who have unsafe buildings to get the state to front money to build a new school, and then have local taxpayers pay it back over 20 years.  Essentially, it forces what voters haven't approved in 30 years.

 

The whole process is a bit of a catch-22 for the district.  While the state could give the green light to a brand new school in the district, it could also allow them to step in and oversee almost everything here.

 

If a panel approves the request, there would be a bond election in February.  A “yes” vote allows local control of the school.  A “no” vote means a state representative will come in.

 

"Some people refer to it as a takeover of the district, although I don't see it that way," said Sharrett.

 

The price tag is $11.8 million. 

 

The state has 60 days to make its decision. 

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