GRANGEVILLE – “Now is the time; there’s no more putting it off,” Mountain View School District 244 Superintendent Todd Fiske told the board of trustees at the March 15 meeting.
Fiske reiterated that the need for a levy wasn’t MVSD’s funding model.
“This is the State of Idaho’s funding model,” he said.
After 30 minutes of discussion, the board voted 3-1 in favor of running a $3.1 levy May 18. Trustee Casey Smith, Clearwater, was the lone dissenting vote.
During the initial discussion, Smith let his fellow board members know he was unhappy that at a previous meeting, “when I made the motion to run a $2.1 million levy, I did not even get the professional courtesy of a second so we could discuss it,” he said. “So, I’ll just let you folks set the levy amount.”
Fiske had urged the trustees to run a two-year levy to offer some stability to the district. Interim superintendent, Woody Woodford, who served prior to Fiske, had also suggested to the board the two-year option.
In light of last year’s $3.9 levy failure, none of the trustees felt a two-year levy could pass.
“I believe we could run and pass a $3.1 million levy with some project deferments,” chair Rebecca Warden, Grangeville, said, adding getting community support back was important, and she did not know if this could be done with a two-year plan.
“I definitely do not like the mindset of doing with the bare minimum for our schools, but I feel like we have been backed into a corner,” trustee Melisa Kaschmitter, Grangeville, said. “We’re walking a tightrope in figuring out how to take care of [aging] facilities. I feel the minds of community members toward the levy will not be changed easily.”
The board acknowledged they do not know what the state of Idaho will do with education funding and also do not know what the outcome of any potential SRS (Secure Rural Schools) funding will be.
“In looking at past years, about $1 million was used from SRS funds each year to balance the budgets, but this year we had to use $4 million,” Kooskia trustee Pam Reidlen said. “It’s a tough one, especially with some city water and sewer projects and bonds coming up.”
Reidlen made the motion to run the levy at $3.1 million with Kaschmitter seconding the motion and Warden also voting in favor.