IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - The upcoming Idaho Republican presidential nominee caucus has run into a roadblock - at least in Idaho Falls.
The Bonneville County Republican Central Committee says Idaho Falls School District 91 is refusing to allow them to use school buildings to hold caucuses March 2, 2024.
The district bases it on grounds that they have received legal counsel advising them to not "allow political parties to rent or use School District property to avoid allegations the District is illegally using public funds or resources in an election," including caucuses.
Voting is typically held in public school buildings in Idaho Falls.
Jilene Burger, Legislative District Chair with the Bonneville Republicans, says she had the plan for the caucuses at District 91 buildings all lined up.
"I called all the principals and other places where the primaries are normally held and they were all really responsive. And they called me back and I had to leave a message. They were anxious to let us use their [buildings]I even got a usage agreement out of one of them and I signed it, was ready to return it. And then a couple of days later, I got a couple of phone calls. One of them just said, 'Well, we've been instructed by the superintendent of District 91 not to let them let our buildings be used for this purpose."
Republican voting precincts in the surrounding county are not having the same problem. Doyle Beck, Legislative District 32 Chairman, says Bonneville County School District 93 already approved the schools necessary to hold the county caucuses.
We have reached out to District 91's offices and are waiting for them to reply.
We have received a statement from District 91 Trustee Paul Haacke. He says while he cannot speak for the entire board, "I believe Idaho Falls School District 91 facilities belong to the patrons of the district. In section 500 of the board policy under School Community Relations in section 504 it reads: 'Community use of School FacilitiesSchool facilities are available to the community for education, civic, cultural, and other non-commercials uses consistent with the public interest when such use does not interfere with the school program and school-sponsored activities including use of registration and polling places for voters. Use of school facilities for school purposes has precedence over all other uses.' If there is no conflict with school activities, as per board policy, I believe District 91 facilities should be made available to the public, just as they have been in the past for previous political activities."