As of Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Another election opportunity, local school levies. The Idaho Supreme Court ruled previously that elected officials are violating the state constitution by not fully funding public education (Google, “School Funding Cases in Idaho”). With numerous “constitutionalists” and religious zealots about, one has to wonder, how can this be? Don’t officials swear an oath of office on the Bible to uphold the constitution? Are taxpayers and voters using one of the greatest gifts God has given, the grey matter between their ears?
Review your tax bill. Look at your total taxes, then the School District Supplement. Our family’s District 244 School Supplement represents 43 percent of our taxes! Previously, I’ve voted for every district supplemental levy for nearly three decades. I’m not certain this time.
District 244 school board should display how much of the levy goes for funding portions of education costs the state of Idaho is failing to fulfill under the state’s constitutional obligations. How has the board interacted with the Idaho County Commissioners on the subject of the state not meeting its constitutional mandate? Our esteemed commissioners need to explain how they’ve approached the subject with the state legislative and executive branch officials. Or, are the Idaho County Commissioners siphoning off tax dollars in $5,000 increments to a former commissioner’s company, pursuing approaches the state attorney general has stated are nonviable? Voters should know what elected officials are doing to rectify this situation. Are they introducing legislation revisiting the “funding formula” to fund schools throughout the state, giving tax breaks, writing frivolous legislation, mandating the Bible as an “official” textbook, again violating a constitution by not separating church and state?
I’ve no issues voting for local school levies where voters are paying for items/programs above the constitutional mandate (state fully funding education). The local school board should display what above basic education funding items/programs are, and their cost.
It’s time citizens connect the dots of our collective voting and get a full picture of what those elected to office are doing in the interests of the citizens they represent. We can then, once again, continue to clean house in the next election.