Eye On Boise

Schools: Dates OK, funding not

Members of the House State Affairs Committee listen to testimony for and against the giant election consolidation bill, HB 201, which runs 98 pages and would consolidate all of Idaho's elections to four dates, with the polls to be operated by county clerks with consistent, standardized polling places. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)
Members of the House State Affairs Committee listen to testimony for and against the giant election consolidation bill, HB 201, which runs 98 pages and would consolidate all of Idaho's elections to four dates, with the polls to be operated by county clerks with consistent, standardized polling places. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

Karen Echeverria, executive director of the Idaho School Boards Association, said school boards have agreed to the four consolidated election dates in HB 201, but they're concerned that the funding in the bill isn't adequate. If school boards opted to hold bond or levy elections on the optional March or August dates, they'd have to pay the cost, though the county clerk would run the elections. Echeverria told lawmakers that school districts expect those costs to be higher than their current costs for running elections, to the tune of $2 million. "We are fine with the dates in the bill - our only concern is the funding," she said. At a time when schools are facing unprecedented budget cuts, Echeverria said her association opposes the bill unless its implementation is delayed for two more years, and it includes a provision for all election costs to be covered by the state.

Phil Homer of the Idaho Association of School Administrators said his organization has same position. "We're going to take some pretty deep cuts in education," he said.




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