Basin School District Supplemental Levy Facts

Quick Q & A

Why is the Basin School District offering the community a supplemental levy?
Many of you may not know that the state has funding shortage of over $200 million.   The state allocates a given amount of funds based on average daily attendance for specific expenditures.  This means the Basin School District must spend money on specific items dictated by the state. 

What will the levy fund?
The levy will fund student programs and facilities that are not funded through specific state funding or funding that falls short such as: Preschool, District Security, Athletics/Clubs/Extracurricular, Activity Transportation, Safe Buildings, Alarm Monitoring and Bell, Community School Coordinator, Curriculum, Field Trips, STEM Program & Coding, and Contingency Fund.

How much is the Levy?
$450,000 for two years

How much will it cost the average homeowner?
After a $100,000 homeowner’s exemption the cost would be $106.65/year for each $100,000.  Market values are expected to rise again this spring which would cause a decrease.  

Will the average homeowner pay more than they are paying now?
No, the cost per $100,000 will be less than what the average home owner is paying now.

When can I vote?
March 10th

Why the supplemental levy, doesn’t the state fund the district to 100%?
The state funds public schools to about 80% of what the schools need to satisfy the parents demands. This is why about 82% of districts in the state have supplemental levies. 

I have property in the levy designated area of Boise County but my primary residence and voter registration is elsewhere, can I vote in both counties?
You can only vote in one voting district for a given election.  

Idaho Code §18-2306 – Every person not entitled to vote, who fraudulently votes, and every person who votes more than once at any one election, or knowingly hands in two (2) or more tickets folded together … is guilty of a felony.

How is funding preschool going to help students perform better or be more successful?
The district has been tracking students who have gone through the preschool program and to date the students who attended preschool have a 100% graduation rate and a higher Go On rate than the state average.

Is the Preschool line item new? When did the taxpayers as a whole start paying for what parents have previously paid for?

The preschool has been paid for through grants, parents, SPED funding, and the levy.  Each year has been different depending on the amount of grant funding, the first four years (1999-2000 was the first year) were paid through a Katheryn J. Albertson Foundation grant followed by an Idaho Community Foundation grant.  The program has proven to be very effective and has grown in size due to the economy requiring both parents to work full time in most households. SPED funding provides three year old with special needs preschool three days a week, parents pay a monthly fee, and some parents receive a scholarship depending on need.

How is a community schools coordinator going to help students be more successful?  

The district hovers around a 50% free and reduced lunch percentage.  Many of the students who come to school are not being provided with basic needs.  Students who are worrying about basic needs are not concentrating on academics. The community schools coordinator brings together all the community resources such as the United Way, County Sheriff, Community Justice, and many more local organizations to help facilitate basic needs as well as teaching students and parents how to be successful and self sustaining.  With the increase of market values in the Treasure Valley the district is experiencing an increase of people with lower income settling in the district boundaries. Our staff wears so many hats they do not have the time needed to help these families. The coordinator position has a short term pay off in terms of basic needs, but more importantly a long term investment to help these future taxpayers be successful.

 Evidence resources –

What is the exact mission of the community coordinator? How does this overhead position aid education? What other things do you think that office could do? What, if anything, limits the activities of that office?

 The mission is “To unite school, community and family for young people’s success.”  

1. PURSUE EQUITY—Educational excellence and equity are inseparable. Community schools work actively to identify and confront policies, practices and cultures that that keep students of different backgrounds and races from achieving equitable outcomes. Community schools proactively and intentionally empower those typically disempowered by barriers to participation.


learning embraces but goes beyond mastery of core academic subjects to include youth development principles; holding high expectations for children, youth, and adults; and developing their social-emotional, health, critical thinking, and problem solving skills.

  1. BUILD ON COMMUNITY STRENGTHS TO ENSURE CONDITIONS—Community schools utilize the assets of the entire community—including the gifts of people who live and work there, parents, families, residents and community partners to create the optimal learning conditions for each student.

AND PROGRESS—Reliable and community-specific data, coupled with the wisdom of youth, families and residents, guides how educators and community partners work together to achieve measurable results.

  1. COMMIT TO INTERDEPENDENCE AND SHARED ACCOUNTABILITY—Student success requires explicit investment in collaborative planning and implementation between educators and community partners and across program areas and disciplines. Mutually agreed upon results and related indicators, as well as written agreements enable educators and community partners to hold each other accountable.
  2. INVEST IN BUILDING TRUSTING RELATIONSHIPS—Deep collaboration takes dedicated

effort and time, and becomes evident in the daily formal and informal social exchanges within a school community and between the school and the broader community. Trusting relationships fuel school transformation by helping to create a nurturing safe, respectful climate where caring adults, families and students come to rely on each other as part of a shared approach to student success.

  1. FOSTER A LEARNING ORGANIZATION—Improved student learning depends on a school community where educators and community partners work together towards continuous improvement. Time and support are available for individual and collective reflection and adjustment as well as shared learning and professional development, to facilitate responsiveness to student needs.

The primary responsibility of this position is listed above, of course this position like many of our positions at the school may be asked to help with other programs when available.  The position is currently a part time position so the coordinator’s work load is pretty full.

I would like to see the district budget where can I find it?

You can find most of our budget on our website at The budget system for schools is very different than businesses due to the specific laws developed by the Idaho State Legislatures.  Many superintendents have commented that it takes around 5 years to completely understand how the state allocates funding. The backbone of the school district’s finance system is the district finance managers.  If you have a few hours the district would be happy to schedule a meeting to come to the district and give an overview of the budget.

Can I compare the Basin School District budget to other districts in the state? 

Yes, you can find budget information at the State Department of Education website,

Also you can compare 2020 levies across the state at or 2019 at

Revenue comparisons for districts across the state from 2014-2018 –

2020 Appropriations (How the state allocates funding) –

Can I see monthly expenditures for the Basin School District?

Yes, you can find it on our website at

Why hasn’t the district fixed all of the maintenance problems in the past?  

Just like a house the district buildings require ongoing maintenance which is accounted for in the basic budget.  The levy provides the district a way to gradually repair and replace items. One of the most expensive examples is the metal roof.  Several years ago the maintenance supervisor received several bids to fix the roof properly, the bids were around $1 million dollars.  Last summer we received bids to place a temporary seal on part of the roof which was around $100,000. The district decided that the taxpayers would not vote for a bond so we continue to repair what we can.  The district repairs as many issues as possible until the money runs out for each fiscal year. This year we made significant progress on what we could repair. The district has a maintenance supervisor and a helper, during the winter they spend most of their time removing snow and ice.

How are funds spent on athletics, clubs, and extracurricular activities and why aren’t they funded in the regular budget?

Many of the costs associated with the extracurricular and sports activities is a function of the location of our schools.  Every school activity has a travel cost associated with it somehow. You have the expense of fields, equipment, coaches and advisors, training, insurance, competition fees, awards, cleaning, portable toilets, rental fees, and other costs.

What are contingencies?

The State of Idaho recommends each district maintain a  contingency fund to protect from catastrophic costs, such as the 2009 economic crash. 

33-801A.  GENERAL FUND CONTINGENCY RESERVE. The board of trustees of any school district may create and establish a general fund contingency reserve within the annual school district budget. Such general fund contingency reserve shall not exceed five per cent (5%) of the total general fund budget, or the equivalent value of one (1) support unit computed as required by section 33-1002, Idaho Code, whichever is greater. Disbursements from said fund may be made by resolution from time to time as the board of trustees determines necessary for contingencies that may arise. The balance of said fund shall not be accumulated beyond the budgeted fiscal year. If any money remains in the contingency reserve it shall be treated as an item of income in the following year’s budget.

Who approves a levy?

The school board of trustees approves all levies and the voters ultimately decide whether to fund it or not.   The school board trustees represent each zone within the school district boundaries. The school board trustees are elected by the voters.

What efforts are you making to prioritize spending in the school? For example, what positions and programs are you willing to cut to maintain STEM programs?

If the levy does not go through the district will consider using the Idaho Digital Learning Academy online program to teach students computer science and coding.  Our new theater arts program would most likely have to be cut and class sizes would most likely double to cut cost. The district would also delay developing STEM related activities such as hosting competitions, competing in academic contests, and other team related activities.

What is the money for “social” science education to be spent for? Why isn’t what you receive from non-levy funding enough?

Unfortunately, the district is just catching up on curriculum.  Before the economic downturn of 2009 almost all districts were purchasing curriculum on a rotation update plan.  Our science and social studies curriculum is outdated and very well used,. The state provides around $2000 for curriculum which is not enough to replace or update curriculum.  In the last two years we replaced the math and ELA curriculum in elementary and high school. The new curriculum is resulting in student growth and less teacher prep time. Otherwise, teachers spend most of their time developing new curriculum, lesson plans, and activities rather than grading, providing valuable feedback to parents and students.

$40,000 for the SRO. Is this above and beyond what you have in the budget?

The state does not give the district funding for an SRO.  The county partners with the school district to share the cost of a 9 month SRO and the other 3 months as a regular officer.  If the levy does not go through there most likely will not be an SRO at the school unless the district or county could find a grant.

In athletics how much do the student athletes earn (fundraising etc.) towards funding their team. Same for clubs?

Student athletes and club members raise as much as they can for items such as camps, shirts, and equipment.  They also pay a participation fee for sports. These fundraisers and fees are a mere fraction of the operating cost.  When you see an athlete or club member competing you have to think about all the costs that are related to that activity.  A football field alone is a tremendous maintenance cost. People don’t think of how much it costs to mow, paint the lines, paint the goal posts, maintain the concessions, plug and fertilize, water, pump maintenance, hose and sprinkler replacement and maintenance.  That all has to happen just to step on the field. There are mandatory helmet replacements, athletic tape, first aid supplies, trainers, and other costs. You have to approach the cost as a system. The United States is one of the few countries who provide athletics in school and not as an after school club activity.  As a voter you can decide whether you want to change the culture or not.

$30,000 for transportation to travel to away activities.  Is this above and beyond what is in the budget? Is this doubled up with field trips? 

When people move to Boise County they have to increase their cost of living to account for travel, the school district is no different.  Everything the school does is related to travel in one way or another. The district has a regular budget for the four bus routes, the levy helps provide transportation for other travel such as an after school activity bus, Snow School travel to the ICOE,  and competitions. Field trips come under their own specific category to track and concentrate more on academic trips to specific places like the discovery park, Arrow Rock, Discovery Center, State Capital, and other places. The state provides partial reimbursement.  The maintenance costs are not as clear, but you also have general maintenance and emergency maintenance factored into these categories.  

What is being addressed for building maintenance for the long term. Band-aids only work for a short term. Sounds like the district needs to find contractors that don’t charge arms and legs to come and fix the issues.

The current system allows the district to build up the contingency fund, apply for grants, or run a bond.  For example, our elementary playground is made up of old 4×4 wood that is rotting and splintering. We are actively pursuing grants to provide a new updated ADA compliant playground.  The district was awarded a grant several years ago for the preschool equipment, last year the district was denied grants for the playground, and this year we are trying another grant. Items such as the roof and the dry fire sprinklers are more difficult to find funding for. 

Part of the issue with contractor cost is the school district building requires all repairs and installation to abide by code and updated laws which means in some cases the district pays top dollar because there are very few specialty workers in the fields we need repairs.  For example, HVAC, fire sprinklers, and large metal sheeting roof replacement all require special certifications and tools.

If the levy did not pass, how many kids will not be educated according to the standards of the state? Assuming that some might not graduate as a result of the levy not passing, has this lack of funding to carry out your basic mission been communicated to the state? Assuming it has, why hasn’t the state funded your budget request? Did the state simply kick the can on extras to the counties?

This is a “supplemental” levy which means these are not crucial to state standards.  What it does mean is that teachers will have to do more with less, and therefore some programs will be neglected.  The State Department of Education is aware of the budget deficit and is working on plans to help fund budgets to 100%.  The idea presented was to add $100 million each year to the budget and in two years most all districts would be funded and the levies would disappear.  This idea is currently stuck at the idea stage.  

The state legislatures demand student growth.  The supplemental levy contains a variety of different funding that will help students learn with less distractions, have more buy into the school and the community, leadership and service opportunities, and extend academics to the next level.

If the levy were to be reduced but not eliminated, do you have a prioritized list of levy items so that you can keep the most important given a reduced level of funding? If not, then why should we not conclude that you just asked for a wish list without seriously thinking about what was relatively more important?

This question assumes that the levy  items are not connected. All of the items on the levy are connected to regular budget items in one way or another.  The supplemental levy extends the effectiveness and reach of each program or facility. Due to the size of the district just about every staff member takes on multiple responsibilities some with compensation and some without.  If the voters do not pass the levy the district will have to prioritize the list and decrease the connections.

The Basin District is asking for an EXTRA  $900,000 spread over two years from a county of only 7,800 people. How many students are in the Basin District? If you have five hundred students, isn’t that an extra $900 per year per student?  ( As an aside, TOTAL tuition at Bishop Kelly is a tad over $9K per year. BK tuition is a reasonable approximation for your running costs, as neither the Basin nor BK has to amortize the initial cost of buildings. Why wouldn’t a reasonable person conclude that they manage their resources better? 

First of all this levy does not include Horseshoe Bend, Garden Valley, or Lowman.  The Basin School District currently has around 350 pK-12 students. The state provides no funding for preschool (except a small amount for SPED), half for kindergarten, and full for grades 1-12 based on the average daily attendance which is around 311 when you take out the preschool and half kindergarten.  

Bishop Kelly is not a good  comparison for  Idaho City.  Bishop Kelly has a $215 application fee and $190 for returning, student fees for freshmen and sophomores $770, $850 for juniors, and $925 for seniors.  The fees do not include fees for elective classes, voluntary testing fees, retreats, extracurricular participant fee, spirit packs or other types of clothing.  Capital improvement fee is $70 per student. Building maintenance fee $250 per student. Tuition is $8,760. In 2018 they received $1,802,452 in donations and grants and one could assume this would be around double for two years which would be a considerable amount more than the Basin School District Levy.  Also, many of the parents are in a much different tax bracket than those in Idaho City and donate services, equipment, and supplies to the school.

Compare other districts at


More In Depth


    1. Maintain critical programs – Preschool, SRO, Athletics
    2. Maintain buildings and grounds-aging dry fire sprinkler system and rusting roof
    3. Upgrade Curriculum- science, health, social studies
    4. Maintain part time Community School Coordinator (to schedule dental, mental health appointments, support families, build school-community partnerships, acquire resources, etc.)

    Amount of Supplemental Levy: $450,000.00 per year for two years

    Supplemental Levy Budget Estimates

    1. Preschool                                          $55,000.00      2 preschool teachers, preschool supplies
    2. District Security                               $56,000.00       40K for SRO, 10K for staff training/safety supplies
    3. Athletics/Clubs/Extracurricular     $80,000.00      Fees, uniforms, supplies, salaries, benefits, subs
    4. Activity Transportation                   $30,000.00      Student activity bus and travel to away contests
    5. Safe Buildings                                   $74,000.00      Repair dry fire sprinkler system and rusting roof to provide safe student working environment
    6. Grounds Maintenance                    $12,000.00      Snow and ice damage, football field, and student parking lot
    7. Alarm Monitoring and Bell             $10,000.00      Student bell system is broken and out of date system
    8. Community School Coord.             $20,000.00      Coordinate wellness center activities to help students succeed
    9. Curriculum                                        $28,000.00      Science, social studies, health
    10. Field Trips                                        $5,000.00        Continue to extend academic programs and exposure to career and experiences outside of Idaho City
    11. STEM Program & Coding              $40,000.00      Extend our Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics programs
    12. Contingency Fund                          $40,000.00      Allows the district to continue educational programs and deal with unexpected needs of the students.

    Grand Total                             $450,000.00

      Cost to Patrons

      Levy Rates 2016-17 (250K) 2018-19 (425K) 2019-2020 (425K)
      Market Value $294,608,083 $316,351,627 $380,424,769
      Supplemental* 0.000848585 0.001343441 0.001117172
      Tort 0.000102994 0.000101772 0.000095162
      Plant Facilities 0.000424292 0 0
      Total Levy Rate 0.001375871 0.001445213 0.001212334
      Total Cost 2016-17 (250K) 2018-19 (425K) 2019-2020 (425K)
      $100K – $50K (Exempt.) $68.78/Year $72.26/Year $60.62/Year
      $5.73/Month $6.02/Month $5.05/Month
      $100K (No Exemption) $137.58/Year $144.52/Year $121.23/Year
      $11.47/Month $12.04/Month $10.10/Month


      Note: The Plant Facilities Levy ended at the conclusion of the 2016-17 school years. Rather than running them back to back, the district chose to wait a year and combine them into one, two year Supplemental Levy for 2017-2018 and 2018-2019.


      Levy Rate Comparison Between Boise County School Districts (with the possible 2020-2022 levy)

      Districts 2019-20 2020-2021
      Basin $121/yr **$106.65/yr
      Horseshoe Bend $238/yr $238/yr
      Garden Valley $251/yr $251/yr

      2019- 92 out of 115 school districts in Idaho currently collect levies.

      ** $106.65 is based on current market values.  The county predicts the market value to increase shortly after the levy vote which would cause the yearly amount to decrease.  There of course are no guarantees; if the market crashes after this fact sheet is printed the market value could theoretically decrease.

      How to Register

      Online voter registration (new/update):

      Idaho voter registration deadlines

      • In Person: Election Day. (You must show proof of residence to register at the polls on Election Day.)
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      • Online: 25 days before Election Day.Absentee Application for 2020 Primary (PDF copy)
      • February 28 is the last day for an application for a mail-in absentee ballot to be received by the County Clerk -not later than 5:00 p.m.  This can be done via: fax, email, mail, or in person.  The clerk’s office will then mail ballot to the address on the form.
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      Polling Places (open from 8:00 am until 8:00 pm)
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      1. Idaho City Precinct – Boise County Courthouse
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