Since the great recession, most schools in the state have suffered as a result of loss of state funding. Teachers were furloughed and educational and extracurricular programs were cut all across Idaho. Meanwhile, national and state standards have increased demands on schools resulting in districts having to do more with less. As a result 93 out of 116 districts in the state of Idaho have passed supplemental operations levies to maintain their public schools. Blaine County Schools have been fortunate to be protected from the trends that have dramatically hit schools across the country and Idaho, until recently. The 2006 Stabilization levy did what it was supposed to do and prevented the bottom from falling out in Blaine County. It simply stabilized us while others were defunded. Despite that stop-gap measure, that levy does not increase with inflation and now 11 years later we are in a situation where we need to ask our own voters to support our schools.
Blaine County offers a wealth of programs and opportunities to students and families that don’t exist many other places in the state. Our community has demanded challenging and rigorous curriculum and rich extracurricular opportunities. Our community has insisted that class sizes remain low and staff to student ratios remain high especially for our lowest level students. Our community has called for all day kindergarten, rich outdoor education opportunities, AP and dual credit courses, dual language options, athletic opportunities, vocational and technical programs and much more. But, the financial fact is that maintaining these opportunities is in danger as the inflationary costs have outpaced the revenue coming into the District.
If passed, the proposal before the public asking for a $2.99 supplemental levy will not increase the overall tax burden of the residents of Blaine County. We are entering a new era where voters will be asked every two years what they value with regards to Blaine County Schools. We will now join an illustrious list of Districts who go to the voters every 2 years to fully fund the education. Certainly, if this proposal does not pass more cuts will be coming our way and our schools will look and feel very different. The question before you is what sort of community do you want to live in? Please consider supporting the levy and Blaine County students. It is an investment in the future.
Blaine County Education Association