Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

West Bonner school board approves $4.68 million levy for May election

Margaret Hall, chair of the West Bonner County School Board, speaks during a board meeting Wednesday, July 26, 2023, during the public comment period of the meeting at Priest River High School in Priest River, Idaho.  (Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review)

Voters in the West Bonner School District will decide whether to pass a one-year $4.68 million levy in the May 21 primary election.

The school board voted 3-1 Monday night to approve putting the supplemental levy on the ballot. The rural North Idaho school district has been in a budget crunch since a $4.7 million levy failed last year.

The levy includes $2.68 million for salaries and benefits, $917,000 for maintenance, $376,500 for athletics and extracurricular activities, and $258,500 for transportation. The levy would also pay for insurance increases, nutrition, learning materials, a school resource officer and technology.

The estimated average annual cost to the taxpayer on the proposed levy is a tax of $95.16 per $100,000 of taxable assessed value, based on current conditions.

Board Chair Margaret Hall acknowledged that the levy is a high amount, but the school district is expecting the actual levy rate to be reduced from property tax relief that was recently approved by the Idaho legislature. At a previous meeting, that amount was estimated to be $422,000. However, the board was advised not to include any estimates on the ballot language.

Trustee Kathy Nash, who voted against the levy, read a letter from a constituent that said last year’s failed levy provided much-needed tax relief and suggested running a smaller levy without any teacher pay.

Trustee Ann Yount said the board received more positive letters that encouraged them to run the levy.

Trustee Troy Reinbold abstained from voting.

“I realize that we need a levy,” Reinbold said. “I’m not fond of this amount, but this is what we came up with.”

James Hanlon's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.