JEROME, Idaho — Three years ago, a group of residents sat down with the Jerome School District to help make plans to get a new school built. Now, those goals are now coming to fruition.
Last year the Jerome School District attempted to pass a $26 million dollar bond, to build a new elementary school and expand two others, due to overcrowding issues within the schools. That bond failed, so they tried again. Tuesday night Jerome voters approved the measure with a super majority vote.
This time the bond was worth $27 million due to increased construction costs, and unofficial election results show that it passed with about 77% of people voting in favor, and 23% against.
“It is always difficult in Idaho to get a school bond passed when you have to get 2 yes votes for every 1 no vote,” said Chris Bragg with Jerome Citizens For Better Schools. “It feels really really good to get the bond passed and move forward with this.”
There is still a lot of work to be done, and the plan is to build an entirely new elementary school, then expand Jefferson and Horizon Elementary, and then once complete, they plan to restructure the grade levels within all three elementary schools to be K-6.
“For the little kids it is going to make a big difference in the space that they have,” said Jefferson Elementary Principal Angie Brulotte.
By restructuring current bonds, and low-interest rates, as well as state funding, Jerome residents will not see an increase in the amount of taxes they pay to the schools.
“When communities start to grow that is a healthy thing, but sometimes it takes a little bit of time for everything to catch up,” said Brulotte.
The school district is now tasked with getting its finances together and it may be a few years until everything is complete. They expect to start work on the project as soon as possible.