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Reclaim Idaho nears signature threshold for its latest ballot measure

Photo by Cameron Crow
Reclaim Idaho volunteers have new signature requirements this year as they work to gain support for their education funding ballot measure.

Volunteers canvassed in Moscow last weekend.

A new ballot initiative for increasing education funding in Idaho is gaining steam. Lauren Paterson tells us more about the latest grassroots initiative from Reclaim Idaho.

Reclaim Idaho founder Luke Mayville often cites this statistic when he makes the case for his latest ballot measure.

“Idaho is dead last out of 50 states in funding per student for K through 12 public education. And it’s really hurting our kids," he said.

Mayville was the driving force behind the Medicaid expansion initiative that Idaho voters approved in 2018. Now, he’s back with what he calls the Quality Education Act. He says the measure would increase funding for K-12 public schools by $323 million a year.

“We’re not competing for teachers. We’re not competing for support staff and we’re underfunding programs across the state including programs and things like carpentry, welding, agricultural science, that give kids a chance to make a living," he said.

Petitioners need at least 65,000 registered voter signatures by the April 30th deadline. Mayville is aiming for 90,000 to build some cushion in case any are disqualified.

They’re most of the way there. Over the weekend, volunteers with Reclaim Idaho in Moscow collected more than 800 signatures. That brings the total to more than 80,000.

Canvassers also need to focus on collecting signatures in a few more counties to satisfy another state requirement.

The extra school funding would come from a restoration of the state corporate income tax rate to 8%. It also would add a 4.5% income tax on earners making more than a quarter million a year. Mayville says less than 1% of Idahoans would be affected by the increase.

Raised along the Snake River Canyon in southern Idaho, Lauren Paterson reports on culture and socioeconomics in the Pacific Northwest. Her stories focus on working class and tribal communities.