The Kuna School Board voted 3-2 Friday morning, March 21, for a second supplemental levy election to be held in May after its defeat on March 11.
At an emergency school board meeting on Wednesday evening, the public was invited to express their opinions on the defeated levy and encourage or discourage the board to hold another levy election. During that Wednesday meeting, the school district administration provided to the board and to the approximately 300 residents attending, information regarding the kinds of cuts made historically when a previous levy failed to pass several years ago, the cuts it has made in recent years, and the kinds of cuts it may have to consider if they do not receive the additional funding over the next two years.
Overwhelmingly, the public taking to the microphone for their allotted three minute comments were in favor of revisiting the supplemental levy question during a May election. Teachers, principals, a 12-year-old student, parents and coaches were in favor. Richard Poythress, a parent, expressed that the school board should vote to hold the election again but he felt they should ask for more. He equated more spending overall to a better educational experience for children. “I don’t want to see a town full of idiots,” he said.
There were a few people opposed to a new election at the meeting who gave testimony.
A Kuna businessman, Cory Tanner, said to the board that the people asking for a new vote are throwing a temper tantrum. Stephen Ackerman, an Economics and Political Science at the College of Idaho was concerned that the majority had spoken and that the election should stand as is.
The public’s comments clearly had their impact on the board. At the Friday morning meeting the school board discussed the options of not holding a new levy election, waiting until August to hold a new one, or, because of a deadline that afternoon for election filing, deciding whether or not to hold one in May.
During discussion all school board trustees were in favor of another levy election. Michael Law, who actively campaigned against the March 11 levy, said that he was not opposed to running a new levy, although he felt it needed to be postponed until August.
Royleen Anderson said she was unhappy with some of the scare tactics involved, including an alleged incident where a teacher told a student that next year could be the worst ever if the levy failed. She felt that the district should wait until August to give the community time to heal over the rift caused during the last election.
Sallie McArthur felt that waiting until August would create a lot of stress on teachers and parents not knowing what was going to happen.
Board Chairman Carl Erickson discussed that the last time the levy failed and a new election was held in August, where it passed, it created a lot of issues with students moving around and scheduling issues. He was on the fence between an August or a May election.
Ginny Greger was perhaps the most in favor of a May election recalling that the last time it failed she was on the budget reduction committee and it was extremely difficult to figure out where the money was going to be cut. She didn’t want to go through that again.
School Board Trustees Carl Erickson (Board Chariman), Sallie McArthur and Ginny Greger voted in favor of a May election. Royleen Anderson and Michael Law, who actively worked against the levy for the last election, voted against it.