Declining state funding spurs Moscow School Dist. bond measure

MOSCOW, ID - While the Idaho Senate debates about the public school budget in Boise, the Moscow School District is asking taxpayers to approve a $10.8 million bond.

Palouse Reporter Rachel Dubrovin tells us how much the bond will cost Moscow homeowners, and why the district says they can't afford to let the measure fail.

"It is in everyone's best interest," said McDonald Elementary School Principal Cindy Bechinski.

Tuesday night, Moscow school district faculty and staff met with taxpayers about the $10.8 million bond that would fund improvements on the school buildings.

"Really, I'd love to get this done the right way the first time," said
Moscow School District Superintendent Dale Kleinert .

The bond would be financed over a 20-year period, and taxpayers would pay an additional .54 per $1,000 of assessed property value. According to the district, the average Moscow homeowner is currently paying about $979.54 a year in school taxes. The bond would add about $72.63 to that amount annually.

"The district has been doing its best with the supplemental levy that the community so generously provides, and with declining state funding," said Kleinert.

"Funds have been cut every year for the last five years," said Moscow resident Louise Regelin.

Supporters of the bond say the lack of state funding proves that the schools are in desperate need of the money. However, some residents believe that the taxpayers are already paying enough.

"They got an indefinite levy for $2 million a year last year and I don't really see that they need anymore money," said Moscow resident Dick Adams.

Moscow Resident Dick Adams acknowledges that the school's facilities are in bad shape, but he's concerned about funding a project that may not be maintained.

"In the future, what are they going to do to keep the facilities up, rather than let them get in the kind of shape they're in right now?" said Adams.

Moscow resident Louise Regelin said the district should have taken care of the problems sooner.

"I think they they waited too long," said Regelin. "It should have been done several years ago when these problems first began to occur."

The district said now is a good time to pass the bond because interest rates are considerably low. The bond election is on May 21st and it will require a super-majority approval to pass.

"Two-thirds of the voters have to say "Yes,"" said Kleinert.

The ballot for the bond will become available on Friday, April 19th, and residents within the Moscow School District can vote in person at the Latah County Courthouse, or by mail.