The Post Falls School Board decided Monday to hold a two-year $500,000 supplemental levy election this spring and create a kindergarten center next fall.
Next year, kindergarten students will all attend the same school - the former Frederick Post Elementary School.
The school board agreed with administrators that moving all the kindergartners out of the other elementary schools was the best short-term solution to relieve crowded conditions at those schools.
“It’s a tough decision,” said board chairman Kevin Schneidmiller. “There may be some advantages with all kindergartners in one school. Hopefully they’ll get off to a good start and then move on to their neighborhood school.”
The kindergarten students will be using classrooms that the administration has been using for offices since Prairie View Elementary School opened two years ago.
“We don’t have much to do but to go with it, for lack of other options,” said board member Ed Adamchak.
The district is considering purchasing manufactured, portable offices to erect across the street from Frederick Post. School officials estimate the portable offices may cost $140,000.
In the long run, that option appears cheaper than renting office space at the going rate of $36,000 per year, said Sid Armstrong, district treasurer.
To accommodate the kindergartners, the district will carpet classrooms in the west wing of Frederick Post, fence the property and install playground equipment.
The alternative school, preschool center and Head Start programs will continue to occupy the rest of the building, school officials said.
The school board also supported the administration’s recommendation to hold a two-year supplemental levy election on April 25 for $500,000 per year.
If approved by voters, the levy would not increase the current tax rate.
Though the amount is $50,000 more than the previous levy passed two years ago, the increasing market value of property within the school district results in a lower tax rate.
Had they stuck with the same amount of $450,000 per year, the tax rate would decrease by 8 cents per $100,000 of assessed property value.
The levy will pay for three new school buses, cover part of the costs of updating the social studies and math curricula, and leave about half for school maintenance.
School board members argued against asking for anything higher, because of the “political climate” against tax increases.
“Anything we go for is not necessarily going to be easy to get,” said board member Rich Wallace.
Adamchak added that “sooner or later, in the near future, we’re going to have to come back to the public and ask for a (school) bond (levy). If we can keep no tax increase, then if we do come to the patrons in the near future, we may get more support.”