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Most school levies passed statewide

A preliminary report on supplemental levy elections in held in school districts around the state compiled by the Idaho State Department of Education shows that of 36 school districts holding supplemental levy votes on Tuesday, 27 won passage from local voters, while nine failed, including, notably, one in the state's largest school district, Meridian. That means 75 percent passed. The last round of school district supplemental levy votes was on March 8; according to the department's figures, 29 districts held votes then, and 27 passed with just two failing. One of those two, Boundary County, went back to its voters on Tuesday, and this time, they passed the proposed $1.4 million levy.

All told, that means that this spring 65 of Idaho's 115 school districts asked their voters to raise their own property taxes to add to the school district's operating funds, and in 54 of those districts – that's 83 percent – voters said yes.

The moves come as state lawmakers cut state funding for schools for the third straight year, saying they didn't want to raise taxes.

Melissa McGrath, spokeswoman for the state Department of Education, said the numbers are preliminary, as the counties still are certifying their election results from Tuesday. “I think it really shows that every community makes its own decision on levies,” she said. “We at the state level do not get involved in local levy elections; we leave it up to the local communities.”


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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