The school levy on the way to a ballot in CdA

The Coeur d’Alene School District will move forward with holding a school facility tax election on August 30.

At a special meeting on Monday, school board members voted unanimously to ask the community for $8 million a year for 10 years. Director Allie Anderton moved the motion, which was seconded by Director Heather Tenbrink.

If approved by voters, it would have an estimated average annual cost to the taxpayer of $50.03 per $100,000 of assessed property value, per year, under current conditions.

“Compared to some other states, we have very, very little funding from the state of Idaho for building maintenance,” Tenbrink said.

The school facility tax will be used to cover $25 million in deferred maintenance projects and repairs to buildings in the district, from heating, ventilation and air conditioning units and dilapidated roofs to worn flooring and cracked asphalt riddled with potholes.

Funding from this tax would also cover safety and security measures, which have become of utmost importance in light of the recent school shootings. The district already has $5 million worth of security updates it needs to address ASAP, Superintendent Shon Hocker told The Press last week.

Thrace Kelsick, whose daughter is a student at the Ramsey Magnet School of Science, was the first to make public comments during the special meeting. He came out in favor of the levy. He said the district as a whole was significantly underfunded.

“After watching last week’s meeting, I was quite shocked and disturbed to realize how underfunded not only maintenance but security in general is,” Kelsick said. “It also heightened my concerns about the physical safety of our children and our teachers. I can’t think of anything more pressing or important than that. Honestly, it shouldn’t be about the money. We should do whatever we can to fully fund as many safety and security measures as possible as soon as possible.”

He said taller fences, window film and camera upgrades are a bare minimum when it comes to school safety. He said he would like to see an expansion of the school resource officer program that allows at least one officer in each school all day, every school day.

Kelsick said he and his daughter will attend an open house for a virtual academy not because they want to, but because they are facing a grim reality.

“When I drop my child off at school, I may never see them again,” he said. “It’s very disturbing to me.”

Bill Green asked during his public comment time if the district could reduce administration costs and transfer those savings to maintenance or teachers.

“It would be a great indication for voters who might be really interested in taking a closer look at the levy if you showed that you, like everyone else, have to cut somewhere because of inflation and all the economic problems that are going on. produce,” he said, adding that it would be inspiring for some voters to see that the district wants to acknowledge this universal problem and cut costs wherever it can.

Another parent of Ramsey, Ericka Schindelbeck, said she and her family were afraid to send their children back to school and were struggling to relax this summer knowing what the children might face in the next school year.

“You can either feel like a sitting duck or get the right gear and feel safe,” Schindelbeck said.

She said metal detectors, gun detection cameras, security signs and a heavier presence of police cars and resource officers could all be used to increase security. She said the resource worker for her children is amazing, but even after spending time at school or walking past the school, she only saw him twice.

“I know he’s very thin,” Schindelbeck said. “If we could work on that, that would be amazing.”

She said she was ready to do whatever it takes – support the levy or campaign for private funds.

“Schools are in a state of emergency this year,” Schindelbeck said. “I understand the pandemic has strained our system, but I want you to know that I, along with other parents, stand ready to help. Please don’t be afraid to ask parents for help this year. , because I think you can get a lot.”

Jack L. Goldstein