Friday, September 4, 2009

School board to consider levy election

District seeking $59.8 million over next 10 years

Express Staff Writer

The Blaine County School District board of trustees will decide on Tuesday whether to proceed with a plant facilities levy election in October to raise nearly $60 million for the district over the next 10 years.

A straw poll conducted by board Chairwoman Julie Dahlgren at the Aug. 8 meeting indicated that the trustees favored the proposal.

If approved by the board, the levy question will be put to Blaine County voters on Oct. 29.

Information released Thursday by District Business Manager Mike Chatterton shows that the district will be seeking $59.8 million from the levy.

The total includes $9.9 million for technology enhancements, $2.2 million for safety and security upgrades and $47.6 million for facility improvements.

Technology enhancements would include acquisition of new technology and classroom learning tools, computer replacements and installation of fiber optic lines between all district buildings.

Safety and security upgrades would include access controls on all district buildings, automatic lockdown capabilities and new interior and exterior surveillance cameras at all schools.

District plans for facilities include a new elementary school to be opened in 2014, eight new classrooms at Wood River Middle School, a multipurpose room addition at Bellevue Elementary School and a new maintenance and food storage facility.

Other proposed facility costs are for energy conservation at district buildings, improved fire sprinkler systems, changes in irrigation systems to conserve water and improvements at Carey School and the Community Campus Auditorium.

School district officials have pointed out that the proposed levy will not result in a property tax increase. Rather, the levy would replace an existing 10-year plant facilities levy approved in 2000 and a bond issue approved in 1993. The existing levy expires in July 2010 and district officials expect that the bond will be repaid at the same time. The existing levy and the bond issue generated $62 million for the district.

Terry Smith:

School board meeting

The next Blaine County School District board of trustees meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 8, at the district office at 118 W. Bullion St. in Hailey. In addition to voting on a proposed $59.8 million plant facilities levy, the board will hear a presentation from Superintendent Lonnie Barber on student performance data from last year. A complete copy of the agenda is available the

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