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News >  K-12 education

Coeur d’Alene, Lakeland school levies pass; Post Falls levy narrowly fails

UPDATED: Tue., March 9, 2021

Lakeland High School in Rathdrum is photographed on Thursday, August 20, 2020.  (Kathy Plonka/The Spokesman-Review)
Lakeland High School in Rathdrum is photographed on Thursday, August 20, 2020. (Kathy Plonka/The Spokesman-Review)

Voters in the Coeur d’Alene and Lakeland school districts agreed to maintain school levies in Tuesday’s election. 

But the Post Falls School District failed to win support for its levy.

Coeur d’Alene Public Schools’ levy was approved with 60% support. Lakeland’s had about 50.5% support. The Post Falls levy failed with 50.6% in opposition.

School administrators stressed that the levies cover basic educational necessities and supplement inadequate state funding. They crafted tax proposals that wouldn’t increase taxes. 

But the levies ran into stiff opposition from the Kootenai County Republican Party, which campaigned stridently against all three levies.

Though Coeur d’Alene’s levy passed easily, the district’s support fell considerably from the 2019 levy, which was approved with 70% support, and the 2017 levy, which was approved with 79% support.

Turnout was up significantly from levy votes two years ago. In the Coeur d’Alene district, 9,711 voters cast ballots – 58% more than in 2019. In the Post Falls district, 2,889 voters participated. That’s well over twice as many voters as in 2019.

Coeur d’Alene’s levy proposal totaled $40 million over two years, beginning July 1. The estimated annual cost is $145.54 per $100,000 of taxable assessed value.

The current supplemental levy is authorized for the same amount – $20 million per year – meaning that based on current market conditions, the tax will be unchanged.

The $20 million represents about one-quarter of the district’s annual operating budget, said Coeur d’Alene Public Schools spokesman Scott Maben.

Coeur d’Alene has traditionally given strong support to levies, which require only a simple majority for passage. No levy has failed since 1986.

At all districts in Idaho, supplemental levies cover a variety of programs and initiatives, including campus safety, nurses and mental health resources, classroom supplies, sports, music and other extracurricular activities and technology support.

That’s also the case in the Post Falls School District, where the board of trustees decided to ask voters for a two-year, $9.91 million levy.

That’s the same amount as the current levy, which expires on July 1.

The estimated average cost of the proposed supplemental levy was an annual tax of $102.18 per $100,000 of taxable assessed value, based on current conditions.

Post Falls’ current overall tax rate is $1.70 per $1,000 of taxable assessed value.

The Lakeland School District, which includes Rathdrum and much of northern Kootenai County, asked for $9.52 million per year for two years, beginning July 1.

It will cost $222 annually per $100,000 of taxable assessed value.

In Bonner County, 53.7% of voters rejected a levy in the West Bonner School District, which is based in Priest River.

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