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D91 Taxpayer group concerned about new school bond

Idaho Falls School District 91 is proposing a new bond to improve its high schools after their previous bond failed in November.

District 91 is hoping for a new Idaho Falls High School as part of its new bond proposal. This proposal is a little unique because it has two tiers. The first is an $86.2 million base bond that would include renovations to Skyline High School, a new Idaho Falls High School and would convert the current Idaho Falls High School into a career technical education center. The second would add $13.3 million to the bond for amenities such as a district performing arts center at Skyline and innovative space at the possible new high school. If both bonds pass, they total to be $99.5 million.

“It really addresses those key instructional pieces,” said Margaret Wimborne with school district 91. “But, we have heard from a lot of patrons who want to see those amenities. So this way parents and patrons have a choice.”

Not everyone is for the bond. The D91 Taxpayers group, which opposed November’s bond, says the basic bond is overblown and that a new high school is a waste of money.

“The basic base bond is not effective use of taxpayer money,” Lisa Keller with the D91 Taxpayers said. “And then they’re going to ask us for the rest of the money to put the other things back on somewhere down the road.”

They’re also concerned about where some of the money is coming from.

“Not only are we still getting more than $99.5 million of our tax dollars spent, they’re not even asking us if we want it,” Keller said. “They’re going to pull it from the general fund and use it here whether we like it or not.”

However, the district says that money has been saved and set aside for additional projects if the bond passes.

“The board has been very, very conservative with its financial management over the years,” Wimborne said. “And we are fortunate to have some money in savings that has been put aside deliberately to address both the district’s long term and short term needs.”

The vote on the bond will take place August 28th. The district says you can find more information on their website starting next week. You can access their website here.

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