Levy renewal: D. 55 asking for $1.975 levy to be renewed

BLACKFOOT — The Blackfoot School District is asking voters to renew a $1.975 million supplemental levy at the March 8 election.
The amount of the levy, which is used to supplement funding for maintenance, technology, teacher salaries and other items, has not changed since 2007, and this year district patrons should actually see a slight decrease in their school tax burden even if the levy is passed.
In October the Blackfoot School Board refinanced bonds issued in 2002 to finance the construction of the Blackfoot High School Gymnasium and the Blackfoot Performing Arts Center. Refinancing resulted in savings of $57,693 per year, reducing the interest rate on those bonds from 4.69 to 2.21 percent.
“That—combined with keeping the levy the same—the patrons should see a decrease in their school taxes,” Superintendent Scott Crane said.
Crane said state-level budget restraints will likely result in additional cuts to public schools, and Blackfoot could see the loss of an additional $1 million in state funding. Last year, the district budget was reduced nearly 10 percent after declaring a financial emergency.
“It depends on what happens in the legislature,” Crane said. “It’s our hope the legislature would help us and keep our flat funding for the next year.”
Because the extent of the cuts that will be handed down from the legislature is unclear at this point, Crane said it is important to ensure the district will be able to receive the funding from the supplemental levy—something the district has relied on for nearly 20 years.
“It’s extremely important because our patrons have supported us for all of these years and it has become and integral part of our budget,” Crane said. “The patrons of Blackfoot have always been very supportive.”
This year, all district levy and bond elections will be limited to four dates—March 8, May 17, Aug. 30 and Nov. 8. Bingham County will conduct the elections and electors will go to their regular polling place. Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.