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West Ada School District hoping to pass $500million plant facilities levy on ballot

West Ada School District
Posted at 1:55 PM, Mar 02, 2023

BOISE, Idaho — School Districts often put bonds on the ballot to help supplement state funding. They are usually for big dollars and encompassing many projects at the expense of the district tax payers.

Typically, the bond money is used to help pay salaries and basic district operations, as well as large upgrade projects and new facilities.

This year, the West Ada School District is changing it up a bit.

WASD is submitting the supplemental funding request as a Plant Facilities Levy (PFL) ... and they are asking for taxpayers to approve $500 million, supplying $50 million per year for 10 years to address growth, repair and maintenance issues and overall improvements in all district schools.

Plant levy facilities projects can address a building’s systems, such as air conditioning, HVAC and plumbing, or its physical structures, such as the windows, restrooms, kitchens and gyms. Plant facilities levy money must be used for school construction and improvement. Legally, it cannot be used for operational expenses, salaries or anything else.

What's In It

Major projects and renovations for existing schools makes up $172 million in the proposed plan, including Barbara Morgan STEM, Centennial HS, Eagle HS, Lake Hazel Elementary, Lake Hazel Middle, Lowell Scott Middle, Meridian Elementary and Ustick Elementary.

New playground equipment for all elementary schools is on for $32 million.

Two new elementary schools addressing growth in Star, Eagle and Meridian are proposed at $70 million.

A new Career & Technical Education (CTE) Center comes in at $100 million .

Remaining monies will cover renovations and upgrades at all school sites, inclusive of roof repairs, equipment upgrades, safety and security improvements, new carpet and paint, parking lot repairs and other capital improvements.

How Are We Impacted

If approved, PFL would add approximately $89 per every $100,000 taxable assessed value per year. So if your house has $500,000 taxable assessed value, you would be paying an additional $445 per year for 10 years.

How is the PFL different than a bond?

The big differences in the PFL and a bond are the required voter approval percentage, the cash flow and borrowing options.

West Ada School District Bond vs. Levy

Another big difference is the interest paid by the district. Per the district website, the PFL will save taxpayers $255 million in interest.

WASD Bond vs. PFL tax impact

The PFL will be on the May 16 ballot for voters to decide. More information can be found on the West Ada School District website, westada.org.