by Kurtis Workman
Press Staff Writer
Voters in the American Falls School District again gave their support to the education system by passing a plant facility levy by 69.7 percent. The six year levy will continue the current levy which was set to expire next year. While tax rates of the levy will continue this year, the school district projected the levy with a one percent property valuation increase each year and a five percent increase allowed by Idaho law. The projected collection amounts for the lifetime of the levy are $480,125 the first year; $504,131 the second year; $529,338 the third year; $555,805 the fourth year; $583,595 the fifth year; and $612,775 in the sixth year.
The plant facility levy is used to fund major building maintenance projects. The funds from this year’s levy collections are slated for completing plumbing repairs at William Thomas Middle School.
“We will complete the final phase of the plumbing repairs at WTMS. The school district maintains an ongoing ten-year plan, but sometimes something creeps up on you like the plumbing at the middle school and that project moves to the top of the list. It is because we have the support of district patrons in the form of a plant facility levy that we are able to immediately address issues like the plumbing,” said American Falls School District Superintendent Dr. Ron Bolinger.
Bolinger said once the plumbing project is finished the district will be seeking ways to make schools more energy efficient.
“We are looking for more energy savings. We are hoping to find a way to replace the Univent heaters in classrooms at the intermediate school. Those heaters are nearing 50 years old and we cannot find replacement parts. New, more efficient, heaters will pay for themselves over time through savings, but require an upfront investment. These are the types of things a plant facility levy are supposed to address,” Bolinger said.
Of the five voting precincts in the American Falls School District only one rejected the measure. The school district includes a small portion of Cassia County. The Cassia County precinct voted 6-1 against continuing the levy. The other four precincts gave their support to the levy. As a whole the levy passed 264-115.
Of the 379 total ballots cast 372 came from Power County voters. At the time of the registration cutoff 2,676 residents were registered to vote, 17 more registered at the polls on Tuesday, March 11, bringing the total of the possible voting pool to 2,693 in Power County. Only 13.8 percent of registered Power County voters made it to the polls meaning only 9.8 percent of eligible Power County voters actually voted to renew the plant facility levy.
Bolinger said school district administrators and trustees are thankful for the support.
“We are continuing our goal of using every dollar we receive as efficiently as possible because we are so appreciative of the support this community gives its students,” said Bolinger.