Fox9 takes an in-depth look at education in Idaho each Wednesday. This week, Kevin Richert from Idaho Education News joined us to analyze the results from school votes all across the country. Here is their conversation:
MICHELLE: Kevin here for Making the Grade, an important day after big elections, all across the state. a huge day for you guys over at Idaho Education News. So Kevin break this down for me exactly where do you think we stand when it comes to education funding? From what you saw with the levees and bonds at different districts across the state?
KEVIN: Really good of a mixed bag and we spent a lot of time and a lot of attention last night talking about the West data center, obviously, because it's $104 million. the big big deal, but what we saw looking at the numbers today, looking at it statewide, it's really kind of a mix in several districts were able to get levies through, including Wilder, which we talk about the poorest district in the state was able to go back to voters get a levy through to try to stave off some some things they really wanted to avoid like pay to play for school athletics.
They got levy passed, Grandview another fairly poor school district got a levy passed, after failing a couple of times. Lapwai up north, though did not their district has been kind struggling again with poverty again with the district says it needs some help with levees. Levees generally double bond issues struggle with the several district struggled not just West Ada, you had bond issues failing in notice you had one failing in Wendell, you had one failing in Teton, which is another one of those growing districts so it's tough. we talked about it last night, levees and bonds are very different things bonds are a lot tougher to pass.
MICHELLE: Well you need a supermajority for bonds sixty six and two thirds of the vote. West Ada, let's go back to them because i think that affects so many people here in the valley. West Ada 63% turnout. If this had been a levy it would have passed but a bond you're short by less than four percentage points. this systemic issue that has to be fixed at the legislature if people think it needs to be fixed.
KEVIN: It's going to be really very difficult to fix it and i spoke to Linda Clark today.
MICHELLE: The Superintendent in West Ada district.
KEVIN: And we talked about the result. 63% majority for a bond issue. the way she looks at it, 48 states that would've been enough of a margin to pass the bondage. some states have a supermajority of 60% in some states you need only a simple majority vote to get a bond issue passed with two thirds supermajority, which is part of the state constitution is very unusual, and because part of the state constitution, it's almost impossible to get off of the books.
MICHELLE: So what happens in the future, not only for West Ada who basically said were overcrowded. this is something desperate for them, but in education in general does funding ever change the way we build schools in the state?
KEVIN: I don't know if that expecting the constitution to be amended on this issue is unrealistic to me. It's very difficult amend the constitution. The idea of a supermajority has a lot of political support at the Statehouse. So if Linda Clarke if you're a school superintendent, you're looking at the supermajority and then trying to change that is probably a political nonstarter to think in terms of what is it take to get to thirds support for a bond issue West Ada is already talking about the possibilities of trying to run something down the road, maybe as early as November, we will just have to wait and see, they don't know that yet it's too early to know what you see in a lot of cases like this school districts have to go back and figure out the make changes in your bond issue do you make changes in your messaging in your framing of the issue in the hope that the second time around, you can get more support
MICHELLE: Tight, you reach those four percent of voters who didn't get it. Kevin as always, and the folks over at Idaho Education News writing all about yesterday's election. You can go to their website. idahoednews.org. to read all the specifics all across the state. Kevin thanks so much for being here for Making the Grade.