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Jerome School District plans to try bond again

Posted at 3:42 PM, Jun 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-11 17:42:21-04

JEROME, Idaho — Voters have rejected a $26 million dollar bond in the Jerome School District, but the district says they plan to try the bond again.

"I think we're going to have to again," explained Superintendent Dale Layne. "Just with the growth we're experiencing here, it's a need that's not going to go away."

The district says they planned to use the money for a new elementary school to help combat overcrowding. There are three elementary schools in the district, but they're split up by grade level in a unique way.

"Two buildings that are currently K-3, and then both of those feed into another elementary of 4-5," said Layne. "Our elementary classrooms are completely full."

Students from all three elementary schools will then move on to the district's only middle school, which is dealing with overcrowding issues of its own. Layne estimates Jerome Middle School has around 1,100 students.

The district would have used the bond to build a new elementary school, and to transition the three existing elementary schools to K-6. At that point, all four students would have students from kindergarten to 6th grade.

"Bring the 6th graders out of our middle school to help reduce some of the overcrowding there, and then get our elementary kids spread out with some additional classrooms for elementary," Layne said.

Even with fewer students in the buildings right now because of COVID-19, the district says they have to think long term.

"If we pass the bond, if we would have passed it, we're still two years out before we get into the building," Layne said. "So, even if we end up with fewer students now because of COVID-19, two years from now I'm anticipating being past COVID-19 and back to the growth we've been seeing."

The board is scheduled to meet Tuesday, June 16, to discuss exactly when the bond will run again.