Wednesday, April 17, 2013

School Board approves maintenance and operating levy

By Danielle Hardy, Trustee

The District 171 School Board approved the 2013-2014 maintenance and operating school levy for $2,285,000. That is an increase of $345,000 from last year’s levy. Voters will decide on the levy May 21, 2013.

Superintendent Bob Vian presented information to the school board on the needs of the district that will be met with current funds and those that will be met if the levy passes.  Current funds will be used to replace the Orofino Elementary School boiler, paint the exterior of Timberline, and replace the bus barn roof. These are issues that must be done now in order to prevent further costs in repairs.

Next year’s increase will help to provide full time kindergarten in Orofino, update technology district-wide, and maintain the current staff. Vian explained that voters have approved the annual levy for many years and stated “we are fortunate to have a community that supports education”.

Tax payers will see an increase of $2.71 per month (on an assessed value of $100,000) for the increased levy. Even with the increase, Orofino still has a low per student cost of $1,637. In comparison, Nez Perce has a rate of $3,248 per student cost.

While the State of Idaho constitution requires that the state provide for a complete and thorough education for all of Idaho’s children, funding has steadily decreased. As a result, local communities have had to make up for the difference. Of the 115 Idaho school districts, more than two out of three request local levies each year to supplement state funding.

A recent study done by the non-partisan, non-profit organization Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy outlines how much public school funding has changed since 1980. You can read the study by going to and going to the “reports” link at the bottom.

Anyone with questions on the budget is strongly encouraged to contact the district office at (208) 476-5933, which is open Monday through Friday.

You can also go to the district website at sd171. to view various budget reports, including an updated year-to-date budget (go to “Finances and Public Reports” link on the left side of the homepage).

In addition, a series of informational presentations on the district budget will be given to a variety of community organizations by Superintendent Vian to educate the public on the importance of supporting the levy.

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