To the citizens and legislators of Idaho
As the results poured in from Tuesday’s election, I felt that same dagger in my heart that I did when I was in 8th grade in 2002 and heard the bond had failed again. I was stunned then and still shocked that there were that many people in a town I loved that said, “No (we will not support the youth by giving them a new school)” ten times in a row now.
I felt even more frustration when I watched the outcome of other districts in the state fail as well. Of the nine bonds up to vote, two passed for school bonds (Post Falls which requested a 20 million dollar bond and Vallivue, requesting a 65 million dollar bond). Vallivue passed by a mere three votes. Murtaugh also requested a 2 million dollar bond for new athletic facilities and did get their bond passed as well. So three of the nine bonds passed.
In case you haven’t done your research here are the bond results:
Cassia County: $56 million. FAILED. 54% approval.
Vallivue: $65 million. PASSED. 66.7% approval.
Bear Lake County: $49 million FAILED. 17% approval.
Payette: $31 million. FAILED. 49% approval.
Salmon: $25 million. FAILED. 58% approval.
Minidoka County: $21 million. FAILED. 62% approval.
Post Falls: $19 million. APPROVED. 73% approval. (New elementary school). P.S. Post Falls can you share your secrets for success?
Filer: $19 million. FAILED. 63% approval.
Murtaugh: $2 million. APPROVED. 78% (new athletic facilities)
Where the frustration comes in is that with the majority of these bonds more than 50% of the voters said yes they do want the bond, however because of the way our Idaho state law is written, we must have a super-majority approval meaning two-thirds of voters must vote yes in order for a bond to pass. Idaho and Tennessee are the only two states in the country that have this super-majority law.
So if year after year (in the case of Salmon 20 years) our bonds are not getting passed, even though the majority of voters want it, what can we do? We must go to our legislators and ask for the law to be changed. Problem is, am I the first one to request that this law be changed? No. Anytime it’s been brought up before, my research shows it’s, “Dead on arrival.” Why? Because the super-majority law is written into Idaho State’s Constitution, and in order to change that there must be a two-thirds approval for the change in the House, the Senate, and then the voters.
So can it be done? I ask you each of our legislators. Can you do it? Can you help us? Can you help schools like Salmon that want--rather need--a new school, but can’t get it with the way the law is currently written?
Support our children, support bonds, support new schools.