SCHOOL PLANT FACILITIES LEVY RENEWAL
From roof repairs to security system upgrades, school districts have a responsibility that requires continual maintenance and upkeep of facilities in order to maintain healthy and safe learning environments. Voter-approved school plant facilities levies are one of the methods that school districts across Idaho implement to deal with aging schools and a growing demand for costly maintenance and repairs.
On Tuesday, March 10, local voters will vote on whether to renew the School Plant Facilities Levy for the Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25. The Board of Trustees adopted the resolution for the renewal at its Regular Session Board Meeting on Tuesday, December 17, 2019.
The School Plant Facilities Levy is a renewable, voter-approved levy that generates funds a school district can use for its infrastructure. If approved, taxpayer money would be used for school building-related expenses. For example, the funds can be used for safety and security, general maintenance, renovation and construction, and equipment. The funds can also provide the resources for land acquisition for future school sites. PCSD 25 is not able to utilize funds from the School Plant Facilities Levy for salaries and benefits, or supplies and travel. The funds are separate from the PCSD 25’s general fund.
If passed, the levy will provide $6,408,935 starting in Fiscal Year 2022 and increase 5% per year for a total of 10 years through 2031. The 5% increase accounts for inflation.
The measure requires 55 percent voter approval. If voters give it a thumbs up, the estimated average annual cost to taxpayers if $141.62 per $100,000 taxable value of a home based on the most current levy rate of 0.1416168 percent. Taxpayers can locate their taxable value on the assessment provided by Bannock County.
The Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25 serves approximately 12,500 learners grades K-12. We are responsible to upkeep, repair and maintain facilities and equipment valued at $250 million, including:
- 28 buildings or facilities
- 1.6 million square feet of building maintenance
- 205 acres of grass area
- 55 acres of parking lots & playgrounds
- 16 miles of sidewalks
- 29 gyms and multipurpose areas
Money from the School Plant Facilities Levy renewal would be used for projects such as replacing roofing, upgrading school plumbing, safety and security updates, energy efficiency upgrades, replacing windows and HVAC systems, and resealing parking lots.
One of the main functions of a school district is to ensure that schools can operate for another 50 to 100 years through accountability, fiscal responsibility and planning. Many of the buildings in the Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25 are fifty-years old and older.
The School Plant Facilities Levy has funded major projects, filling many needs over the past decade, including:
- The renovation and reopening of Alameda Middle School to address enrollment needs.
- The construction of New Horizon Center.
- Elevator access and ADA accessibility.
- Phase 1 and Phase 2 of Pocatello High School improvements, including adding ADA accessibility to the main building of the school for the first time in more than 125 years.
- The construction of Iron Horse Stadium and improvements to the Hawthorne football field and track, as well as the installation of new stadium lights at Century High School.
- Parking lot improvements including the addition of or enhancement to parent drop-off and pick up lanes and bus lanes to increase safety and efficiency and reduce wait and ride times at both elementary and middle schools.
PCSD 25 paid off all general obligation bond and debt in 2016. Each of these projects provides an example of how the School Plant Facilities Levy has reduced the school district’s need for long-term debt through the bonding process.
In addition to the existing School Plant Facilities Levy — which voters last voted to renew in 2010 at a passage rate of 75.97 percent — PCSD 25 has a two-year, supplemental levy used to help cover basic operating expenses. Voters last approved the supplemental levy renewal on March 12, 2019.
The School Plant Facilities Levy renewal isn’t anything new for our District. This levy has been on the books since 1961 – that’s nearly sixty years.
We appreciate our community’s willingness to get out and exercise their right to vote on this important question appearing on the ballot on Tuesday, March 10, 2020. For more information about the election and polling locations, visit https://www.sd25.us/Content2/elections