By Laura Colvin
Kuna Melba News editor
Some 3,150 voters living within the Kuna School District showed up to let their ballots do the talking at the polls Tuesday, and when it was all said and done the district had its two-year $3.19 million supplemental levy.
Of the 3,150 ballots cast, 1,671 – or 53.04 percent – were “yes” votes in favor of the levy while 1,478 – or 46.92 percent – were “no” votes from those who were not in favor of the levy.
Because the Kuna School District boundaries are drawn into part of Canyon County, votes must be counted respectively by the clerk’s office in both counties.
Once both offices were fully reported in each of its own precincts Tuesday evening, the yes votes from Ada County were added to the yes votes from Canyon County, and likewise with the no votes.
The Ada County Clerk’s Office reported a high voter turnout of 29.15 percent, and the final numbers show a somewhat higher level of support for the levy among those in the Ada County portion of the district, as well.
In Ada County:
• Ballots cast: 2,824
• Yes votes: 1,540 or 54.53 percent
• No votes: 1,283 or 45.43 percent
The Canyon County Clerk’s Office facilitated elections for all or part of six different school districts Tuesday, and posted an overall voter turnout of 16.06 percent, but did not immediately list turnout numbers for individual districts. Kuna schools’ voters who live in Canyon County sent the district a resounding “no,” but with smaller numbers were not able to tip the scales to defeat the levy.
In Canyon County:
• Ballots cast: 326
• Yes votes: 131 or 40.18 percent
• No votes: 195 or 59.82 percent
The district assured patrons it would use the bulk of levy funds—a total of $6.38 million, or $3.19 million per year for two years—to offset large class sizes district-wide by hiring additional teachers, who, according to Superintendent Jay Hummel, have already gone through the screening process and were standing at the ready should the levy pass.
The money will also be used to pay for staff and programs currently in place, and to eliminate some class and extra-curricular fees, thus improving participation levels and providing relief for at least some of the “sticker shock” reported by parents who shelled out extra cash at registration during recent weeks.
Leading up to Tuesday’s election, district administrators and school board members repeatedly said the supplemental levy request was based on a significant loss of revenue to the district at the hands of state lawmakers who have reduced funding in some areas while redirecting and earmarking other revenues.
The result, administrators said, is a $4.7 million reduction in money funneled to the district’s general fund over the last two years.
This year, the average resident living in a home with a market value around $100,000 will be looking at approximately $180 in additional school district taxes.