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School funding measure to appear on November ballot in Idaho

Courtesy of Cameron Crow
Reclaim Idaho volunteers collected signatures for the initiative. Now they'll sell the measure.

Idaho voters will decide this fall whether to route more money to public schools.

The Secretary of State’s office says a school funding initiative has the signatures it needs to go to a statewide vote in November.

The measure would set Idaho’s corporate tax rate at eight percent and add an income tax for people at the higher end of the wage scale, $250,000 a year for an individual or $500,000 for a married couple.

Luke Mayville, the co-founder of the initiative sponsor, Reclaim Idaho, says Idaho’s schools are the least funded in the nation at a time when the state’s coffers are bulging with a $1.4 billion surplus.

“If they were funding education at anywhere close to the rate that they ought to, we wouldn’t have such a massive budget surplus," he said.

Mayville says hundreds of volunteers will canvass neighborhoods around the state to campaign for the measure, hoping to knock on at least 50,000 doors.

“We’re confident that if we can get out our message that this initiative will boost pay for teachers and support staff, that this initiative will strengthen programs, including things like welding and carpentry, that give kids a chance to make a living. If we get out this message, the majority of voters are going to be persuaded to vote yes," he said.

Opponents are attacking the proposal as a huge tax increase.