I have been on an emotional roller coaster since March. Which is a lot to say since working in education is it’s own emotional roller coaster. I am a proud educator in Kuna, but that’s not the angle I’m going to take here. Sure, I’ve got firsthand knowledge of the gut wrenching meetings surrounding the levy, and I’ve seen the faces of the Budget Reduction Committee as they leave their Tuesday night meetings. Never have I seen such a combination of stress and sadness on adult faces–although having served on the Budget Reduction
Team two years ago myself I know a bit about that look. Maybe not actually, as I thought we cut every thing there was to cut two years ago. What could these poor souls be left with? Anyway. I also thought about talking about my position in Title One and my students, my kids, who already struggle. What happens to them in bigger class sizes? But no.
I even thought about the wife angle. My husband is a first year teacher. All of his students are overflow due to the new block schedule at KMS so if they go back to the way things were we have to wonder…I have lost some sleep over that one. But no. I’m not going to go there either. For this letter I am wearing the hat that is the most important to me. I am a parent. I have two amazing children. I adopted both of them. It was the proudest thing I have ever done. Every decision has been so very carefully crafted for their happiness and a chance at the best life we can possibly give them. Now I worry I am in a community, deeply embedded in a community that doesn’t fully value education. That worries me as a parent. I do understand the other side of the coin. This is not and should not be the way we permanently fund education. There needs to be changes at a state level and my voice will be heard there just as it is being heard here. But what in the meantime? We cannot allow our children to be the message that things have to change at a state level. We cannot affect their educational foundation for the sake of politics. My children–not just the ones that share my name but every single one that enters my classroom, deserve better. They deserve the best we can give them. I urge everyone to vote yes on May 20.
— Kelly Ayers
If anybody is interested in EXACTLY how to calculate PRECISELY how much they stand to SAVE if the levy is voted down again, please read my March 5 editorial.
If you live in one of the following neighborhoods, you will save on average, annually:
Denali Heights: over $1,000
Walnut Creek: $600
Crimson Point: $400
I am obviously against the levy. I am a parent of three and live within the KSD. I am also a business owner. I’ve been able to survive the economic downturn by making difficult decisions and by changing the way I run the business. I did not simply raise my fees to cover the decreased work load. The KSD needs to act like a business. Don’t ask me to continue paying more money until you have implemented every possible cost reduction method. I find it improper for the KSD to list several cost-cutting ideas they would engage if the levy fails. I have a novel idea: implement the ideas first! The tax payers would be better served. If the ideas fail or prove inadequate, then ask for money. I would support that request. Show us that you tried everything first! Don’t assume you can reach into my wallet and take what you think you need.
An argument has been made that our kids are worth it. If that is reason to support the levy, then why not double or triple the levy rate? After all, the kids are worth it, right? This is a silly notion. Our kids are worth much more, in fact, they are priceless. But that does not entitle the KSD to an open check book.
And parents, get involved with your child’s education. Be a teacher, be a leader! Don’t expect the KSD to be the only educator! Step up to the plate and help educate!
Please vote no. It has not been demonstrated that the levy is the last resort. Other options have been provided by the KSD.
In order to save $1,000 on property taxes a home would have to be valued at approximately $500,000. We took a random sampling of home value averages in the subdivisions you mention and you come closest with your estimate of Crimson Point subdivision. However, for voters who wish to know exactly how much they will save or spend on the supplemental school levy (depending upon your point of view), please see our chart.
This chart of home/property values shows the cost of the supplemental tax levy assuming properties are receiving the homeowner’s exemption.
Assessed Property value Annual Cost of Supplemental Levy
$100,000.00 $122.28 (34¢ per day)
(The average home value in Kuna is $145,500 according to Zillow.com)
$400,000.00 $772.98 (one gallon of milk per day)
$650,000.00 $1384.37 (one gallon premium gas per day)
$700,000.00 $1506.64 (one Starbucks Venti Latte per day)
$1 Million $2240.30 (an on-sale sixer of Budweiser per day)
I have paid close attention to the Kuna School District levy issue this spring. My first thought to every Kuna Melba News publication has been one of thankfulness to you for keeping this seriously important issue in the news and on the community’s mind. Surely no one can say you have not covered both sides of this issue well.
Of course, there were plenty of ill-informed opinions printed blasting the district’s improper use of public funds. We read repeated complaints that the Kuna School District is not transparent enough in its management of precious dollars earmarked for education. Some waxed nostalgic recalling legendary conditions under which they were schooled. Obviously, a few did not realize their own entertainment value for your newspaper readership. Thank you for publishing the opinions of those who publicly oppose the levy. I am most grateful for your efforts to include factual information to clear up the variety of false or simply incorrect claims against administrators of Kuna School District and education dollars.
Your series entitled, “Apples to Apples,” was a great attempt to educate the public on education dollars and comparisons to other local school districts. The word “Transparency” seems to be a key element in this levy issue. I am wondering just how transparent opponents think KSD can get. The Kuna School District budget and expenditures is all public information, available in your newspaper, at every school board meeting, and on numerous websites. Unfortunately, opponents do not want to hear the truth, and accurate facts may not change their opinion. Regardless of their reasons to oppose, passing the levy will NOT raise our taxes. It maintain the current level of services to and for our students.
Kuna is fortunate to have school district administrators who know the value of every dollar they are entrusted to use for education. They take that public trust very seriously. Possible wastes in spending have been researched and costs reduced in many ways, but our district continues to preserve and pursue the high quality education our students need and deserve. Our administrators understand the sacrifices members of our community make in order to ease the huge reductions of state funding. They also realize the public is lead to believe that a one percent increase in state funding sounds like more money coming to our schools. Thus, administrators and most board members have tried to transparently inform and educate patrons about the fact that this “increase” proclaimed by state leaders does not make up for repeated percentage cuts suffered over the past decade. In reality, all schools in the state of Idaho are working with far less money now than they were 10 years ago (check Idaho funding rankings), yet Kuna Schools have excelled in meeting high standards for education results with our students.
Thank you, Kuna Melba News, for publishing the facts and the educated opinions of community members who want to see our students continue to achieve success. Our students are Kuna’s future.
— Karen Stear