TWIN FALLS — The Twin Falls School District is getting ready for the upcoming school bond and levy elections. This year, TFSD is focusing on a proposed $5.7 million supplemental levy that will benefit both schools and the community.
The district has been utilizing supplemental levies since 2011, which need to be renewed every two years. Right now, the district has a $5 million levy, set to expire for the 2021 tax year.
If the new proposal is approved, it will increase the amount received by $700,000. All funds will go towards the needs of the district.
“The supplemental levy makes up about 9% of our overall budget for the year," said Superintendent Brady District. "This money helps to support all the programs that we offer in the district and helps pay for staffing.”
The programs include extracurricular activities like sports, music and drama.
The proposed levy could also make up for a $2 million reduction in spending the district made last year, resulting in staff cuts. This levy could help bring those positions back.
While the levy benefits the school district, it also benefits the city of Twin Falls. Despite the increase in the levy amount, it will provide tax relief to the community because of low-interest rates in the summer.
“Because of those low interest rates, the district chose to refinance our bond levies that were used to build the new schools in our community, said Eva Craner, public relations director of the district. "In doing so we saved the community roughly 14 million dollars in interest payments which has allowed us to back off of the bond levy collections and lower the overall tax rate.”
The collection of bonds was reduced by $1 million which lowered the overall tax rate from $4.28 to $3.65 per $1,000 of taxable property value. The district is hopeful of reducing collections by another $1 million in the upcoming year if the levy is approved. If the levy is not approved by voters, it could have severe consequences on the district.
“Without a new levy, we would need to look at reducing 5 million dollars out of our budget. So, because we don’t have a lot of carryover, if we reduce 5 million dollars out of our budget we would need to make some pretty deep cuts within our system,” said Dickinson.
The district is encouraging residents to get and make their voice heard, no matter if they're in favor or against the proposed levy.
“Public schools are responsive to their community. So if this is something the community approves of or doesn’t approve of, that’s something we need to know through our election process. So, we just encourage the community to take part,” said Craner.
Election Day is March 9 and early voting can be done until Friday, March 5.