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The Blaine County School District will ask voters later this summer to approve a levy for up to $5 million for five years to cover the costs of maintaining and renovating district-owned buildings.

Citing a pressing need to address district facilities, the school board unanimously agreed to put the question on the August ballot during its regular monthly meeting on June 14.

The funds must be authorized by voters through a plant facilities levy election, which is slated for Aug. 30, 2022. The question on the ballot will be whether the Board of Trustees should be authorized to levy the desired amount of $5 million per year, continuing each year thereafter through the end of fiscal year 2027. The levy will total $25 million over five years, but, according to the board, this money will not be available all at once.

“With a plant facilities levy, it is payable $5 million a year,” said Superintendent Jim Foudy. “It’s a direct payment from the county to the district, so it’s a very efficient use of resources for capital improvement projects, but it’s not all at once. It is $5 million per year for five years.”

Per state law, school plant facilities levies require a higher proportion of voter support as the ask grows. At the level the trustees are seeking, 55% of Blaine County voters must support the measure. If the levy passes, the property tax impact would be no more than $34 per year for every $100,000 of assessed taxable property.

The funds, if authorized, are by law required to be used for the purpose of improving, maintaining and repairing existing buildings, including roof repairs and replacements, updates to the equipment of buildings, safety and security systems, as well as providing LED lighting, heating, ventilation and sanitation facilities, mechanical systems and appliance upgrades necessary to maintain and operate the buildings of the district.

The projects to be potentially funded were identified and prioritized after a yearlong building conditions evaluation conducted by the board’s finance advisory committee with the assistance of a professional engineering firm. The committee reviewed the most pressing needs for renovation and recommended substantial improvements to security equipment and building systems across the district to ensure the safety of staff and students.

For more information on the Plant and Facility Levy question that will appear on the ballot Aug. 30, go to www.blaineschools.org/Page/4888. 

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