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School bond voting underway in east Idaho

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Patrols in Oneida County will vote Tuesday on whether to replace Malad Elementary School and demolish the existing elementary school. | Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com

IDAHO FALLS — Voting is underway in some east Idaho school districts Tuesday. Here are the bonds on the ballot that need a two-thirds supermajority to pass.

BONNEVILLE JOINT SCHOOL DISTRICT 93: $42.7 million

The bond will pay for a new elementary school and upgrades to two high schools.

Here’s how it breaks down: $18.7 million would be needed for a new elementary school and $24 million for new classrooms and entrances for Hillcrest and Bonneville high schools. Upgrades included eight new science classrooms, which will increase the schools’ capacity.

“Instead of putting kids in trailers … we want to do permanent classroom additions that will also improve the way that students move through the building,” Bonneville Joint School District 93 Superintendent Scott Woolstenhulme says. “It made the most sense to build science classrooms because it’s so expensive to go back into the building and try and renovate existing science classrooms.”

In the future, the existing science classrooms can be repurposed as traditional classrooms.

The elementary school is set to have six to eight special-needs classrooms, which will make room for special-needs services throughout the district.

Woolstenhulme says the annual levy cost of $580 per $100,000 of taxable property value will not increase. He says $92 of the current cost would be reallocated to the new construction and projects.

“If that bond isn’t authorized, that $92 can only be used to pay existing bonds instead of for new bonds and new construction,” Woolstenhulme says.

More information can be found here.

SUGAR-SALEM SCHOOL DISTRICT 322: $17 million

The district is asking for a new junior high school as portable classrooms are currently being used at every school except the high school.

Last year, the junior high library and teachers’ lounge were repurposed into classrooms.

“We were using the library all day long as a classroom. We had two classrooms in there for part of the day,” Sugar-Salem Superintendent Chester Bradshaw says. “We say we’re over capacity because our library doesn’t exist anymore. It doesn’t function as a library.”

Bradshaw says that students can technically “fit” into the building, but there aren’t enough classrooms for them.

He says the building was built in 1954 and students still use the gym original to the building. Two classroom wings were added on back in the 1970s.

Bradshaw says if the bond passes, they will build the new school on 45 acres of land just donated adjacent to the city limits. The old building would be repurposed.

There would be a slight levy increase of $62 from last year’s rate. The new tax rate in total would be $345 per $100,000 in assessed value. Bradshaw says this is still less than what patrons paid in recent years, which was $402 per $100,000 in assessed value.

More information can be found here.

ONEIDA COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT 351: $17.35

District officials are again seeking to replace Malad Elementary School and demolish the existing elementary school, Idaho Education News reports. They will also be tearing down its old high school. In March, a smaller, $14.85 million proposal fell short of the supermajority vote.

More information can be found here.

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