Friday, March 12, 2010

Court case filed for school levy spending

District seeking judicial approval to borrow on future revenues


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

The Blaine County School District filed court papers this week for judicial approval to borrow on future revenues from a $59.8 million plant facilities levy approved by the electorate last October.

The proposal, approved by the district school board in February, is now in the hands of Judge Robert J. Elgee, who will make a decision on the matter following a hearing scheduled for 11 a.m. on April 19 in Blaine County 5th District Court.

The court petition, filed on behalf of the district by the Boise law firm of Hawley, Troxell, Ennis & Hawley, is seeking approval to borrow on future levy funds through the Idaho Judicial Confirmation Law, which requires court approval for political subdivisions such as the school district to borrow money through "bonds or other obligations." The school district intends that "certificates of participation" be issued to investors with money to be repaid though levy tax assessments.

The Judicial Confirmation Law provides that any "owner of property, taxpayer, elector or rate payer" in the political subdivision may file to have the petition dismissed.

The plant facilities levy, approved by Blaine County voters on Oct. 29, 2009, allows the district, starting on July 1 of this year, to collect $5.98 million in tax assessments each year for the next ten years.

The levy was approved to fund new construction, safety and security upgrades, new technology, building and site improvements, geothermal energy development and new heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems for many of the district's aging school buildings.

District Business Manager Mike Chatterton told the school board in February, prior to board approval to proceed with judicial confirmation, that borrowing on future levy revenues will save the district $4.7 million over the next five years.

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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