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CDA school board votes to re-run failed levy, with one change

Screenshot from Coeur d'Alene School Board meeting

Board members say the decision to run a 'perpetuity' levy in March was not the right one.

People in the Coeur d’Alene School District will get another chance on May 16 to vote on a $25 million supplemental levy that they rejected last week.

That levy received 49% of the vote, just short of the 50%-plus-one-vote that would have changed the outcome. Voters also rejected by a half-percentage point a $25 million safety and maintenance levy.

The district vowed to wait on that for now, but will proceed with the supplemental levy. This time it will ask for the same $25 million a year, but only for two years, not for perpetuity as it asked for this month.

The board voted unanimously Monday night to re-run the levy, but board member Allie Anderton said she and her colleagues and the administration need to address why voters said no.

Coeur d'Alene school board member Allie Anderton says the district needs to re-establish trust with the community.
Screenshot from Coeur d'Alene School Board meeting
Coeur d'Alene school board member Allie Anderton says the district needs to re-establish trust with the community.

“Administration and the board have continually failed to acknowledge or validate concerns brought to them by our community, such as lack of rigor in curriculum, safety of restrooms, locker rooms, questionable content in curriculum and books and truthfulness. This has resulted in a significant erosion of trust between the community and the district," she said.

Anderton suggested the district cut its ask to $20 million, sparking a conversation about whether that was feasible.

Superintendent Shon Hocker and his team laid out a potential $25 million in cuts in case a second levy is also rejected. And he reminded board members they had unanimously supported the $25 million request back in October and urged them to go back to that.

“If indeed it is the wishes of the board to drop down to $20 million, I would ask that the board today identify the $5 million that’s coming off that list.”

The potential cuts include closing two elementary schools, cutting nearly 30 jobs in the administrative office, eliminating sports, reducing kindergarten to a half day and cutting all library staff.

Board member Lesli Bjerke noted Coeur d’Alene levies have endured a downward trend, from 80% support in 2017, to 70% in 2019 to 60% in 2021.

"What we need to ask ourselves is why are we losing 10% every two years in our support. And, if we don’t address some of the concerns that our community has about our public schools, are we going to drop another 10-percent?” she said.

The Lakeland school board in Rathdrum voted last week to re-run both its operational and facilities levies in May, but it shortened the facilities levy from six years to two.

One of the Northwest's most seasoned reporters is returning to his SPR roots. Doug Nadvornick will be heard frequently on KPBX and KSFC reporting on local news.