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Salmon School District under investigation for election law complaint

Education

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SALMON — Authorities are investigating claims that the Salmon School District violated Idaho election law.

Lemhi County Sheriff Steve Penner told Idaho Education News Friday that his office is in the “early phase” of investigating whether Salmon trustees used public funds to encourage voters to pass a $25.6 million bond issue. The measure failed Tuesday.

RELATED: School bond for new elementary school fails in Salmon School District

Penner said patrons outlined their complaints to Lemhi County Prosecuting Attorney Bruce Withers. Withers eventually recused himself from the investigation but turned the complaints over to the Jefferson County Prosecutor’s Office.

Jefferson County Deputy Prosecutor Mike Winchester said his office is awaiting a report from Penner’s office to determine whether to file charges.

Idaho law prohibits the use of “public funds, resources or property to be used to advocate for or against a candidate or ballot measure.”

The failed bond issue would have funded the construction of an elementary and middle school to house 650 students. Fifty-eight percent of local voters supported the measure, which needed a two-thirds supermajority of votes to pass.

This article was originally posted on IdahoEdNews.org on March 15.

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