Idaho is experiencing tremendous growth and that growth is affecting our schools.
All the schools in the Sugar-Salem School District have modular classroom buildings due to overcrowding.
A bond committee of 12 community members was formed two years ago to determine the best solution for the district.
“We’re experiencing growth here in Sugar, the last fifteen years we’ve had steady growth, and we’re starting to see that increase, even more, the last two or three years,” said Sugar-Salem School District’s superintendent, Chester Bradshaw.
The growth has pushed the school district to request a $17 million bond that will be used to finance the design and construction of a new junior high.
Deciding on a new junior high versus a high school or elementary was an easy choice for the district, considering that their current junior high is the most overcrowded.
“(The junior high school) Our smallest building and that’s our oldest building as well as the building that has the highest maintenance costs,” said Bradshaw.
In 2017, the school district requested a bond to make an addition to the current junior high school and that bond failed, something that the district is now grateful for since they now have a new vision.
Thanks to a generous donation of 45 acres to the school district by The Dalling Family, the option to build a new junior high school became a possibility.
“Given that opportunity, we then went back and said actually the time is right for us to go in and build a new building. It’s going to cost us the same amount of money per square foot that it was going to cost us to remodel this old building, and we’ll have a fifty-year fix versus a ten-year Band-Aid,” said Bradshaw.
The current challenge of getting the school bond to pass is…
“Our growth is just happening a little here and a little there, a little there, so a lot of our older folks, in particular, they don’t recognize that our schools are overflowing. Parents and patrons that live nearby or that are really involved, they see that,” said Bradshaw.
If the bond doesn’t pass, the school district will have to settle for more modular buildings, something that is costly to maintain and concerns the school district for the safety of the students.
If the bond does pass, the district plans to have the new junior high school open August 2021.
As for the current junior high, depending on the number of students the district has at the time, they may keep the building or sell it.
The new tax rate would be $345/year per $100,000 in assessed property value.
If you live in the Sugar-Salem School District boundaries you can vote on this bond now during early elections (Aug. 12th to the 23rd) or on August 27th at your local polling place.
For more information on this bond, click here.