The Idaho Education Association has filed an initiative with the Secretary of State’s office to reinstate the recently expired 1-cent sales tax hike, and this time direct all the money to local public schools across the state. Under the “Idaho Local Public Schools Investment Act,” local school districts would be required to spend at least 90 percent of the new revenue – which could be as much as $180 million a year – on classroom instruction and support, and issue an annual report to the public on how the additional money is spent. The initiative also requires that the new funding be in addition to state appropriations, rather than replacing part of them. If passed, it would be in effect through 2020, when voters would be asked to review it.
“This initiative will help supply classrooms with up-to-date materials and supplies for students as well as protecting or reducing class sizes,” said IEA President Sherri Wood.
A Caldwell parent who’s backing the initiative, Joe Langan, said, “It is time someone takes a stand for our kids and public education. The Legislature has not had the will to do what’s right and I am tired of programs being cut and class sizes increased.”
To make the ballot, the measure would need 47,881 signatures of registered voters by April 30. Before backers can begin gathering those, the measure must be reviewed for constitutionality by the Idaho Attorney General’s office.