COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho — Voters in Kootenai County overwhelmingly approved a $25 million levy for Coeur d'Alene Public Schools on Tuesday. As of Wednesday morning, the levy received 17,620 (63.47%) votes in favor and 10,131 (36.53%) against.
After the levy was passed, Board Chair Rebecca Smith said, "I am so proud to be part of this community. Voters sent a message tonight that our kids are our #1 priority; that our teachers and schools are worth our collective investment; and that coming together for a common purpose is what unites this community and will move us forward.
My fellow board members and I are grateful for the community’s strong support for our public schools, something we don’t take for granted. We have high expectations for students, teachers, staff, and administrators in the district. We know we have work to do to continue fostering transparency and trust with our community stakeholders. We will continue to find new and better ways to involve our parents, families, and the community in what we do."
People who supported the levy said it would have been "devastating and detrimental" if it failed. Tuesday's vote was the second attempt at passing the $25 million levy.
Back in March, it failed by 2%.
According to Coeur d'Alene Public Schools, 25% of the operating budget was approved because of this vote. The district said over 100 jobs would have been cut and extracurriculars could be defunded.
Dr. Shon Hocker said, "On behalf of the school district, our teachers and staff, our students and families, we thank the voters for supporting us in extending this critically important funding, and for their continued investment in student learning. We are humbled by the trust the community has placed in us and pledge our commitment to continue to use the levy funding in the most financially responsible way to benefit our students.
The levy passing is the outcome we hoped for and we thank the voters. But we don’t take it for granted. There is work to do and we are committed to doing it. Levy funding allows us to continue to provide foundational opportunities to our students so they can be successful in the classroom and beyond. We recognize our community has high expectations for the students in our district, and we will continue our work to improve outcomes for all of our students.
We are truly thankful for the tremendous effort made by so many of our community members who worked around the clock to raise awareness about the levy, the accomplishments of our amazing students, teachers, and staff, and the many positive impacts public education has had in our community. I am proud to be part of this community and look forward to continuing our collaboration."
Coeur d'Alene Public Schools says it spends $1.5 million on extracurriculars.
Parent Stacey Armstrong has students in sports. She hopes voters pass the levy Tuesday. "My eighth grader is going to be in high school next year and he plans on participating in sports and extracurricular activities," Armstrong said. "We talk about it all the time, 'What are we going to do?' The kids in arts, drama and all of it."
Marie Nail supports the levy from the perspective of a North Idaho realtor. She says passing the levy could benefit Kootenai County home values.
"As a mom, homeowner, tax payer and realtor, I can tell you, absolutely without an uncertainty, your home value will be correlated to the strength of our schools," Nail said.
In Tuesday's election, Kootenai County voters will consider the levy without a perpetuity clause. This means even if it passes, the levy will be up for another vote in two years.
One person with grandkids in the district says he thinks there could have been more responsible spending prior to asking voters for money.
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