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PRESS ENDORSEMENT: Support school levy, public safety bond

| April 30, 2021 1:00 AM

Voters in parts of Kootenai County have two opportunities to invest in strengthening their community.

One is the Post Falls School District levy, which would provide $4.95 million per year for two years.

The other is the Kootenai County Fire and Rescue bond, which would provide $14.9 million to relocate two existing fire stations and build a fifth, helping this public safety asset keep up with the region's growth.

Passage of the school district levy will not mean a tax increase. It's simply maintaining what's already in place — but that's a lot.

The levy pays for school nurses. It supports athletics and other extracurricular activities essential to keeping students healthy, emotionally as well as physically.

The levy provides the district’s support for one of the finest vo-tech programs in the country, Kootenai Technical Education Campus. Last year, the Post Falls portion of the KTEC bill, split between three districts, was just over a quarter of a million dollars.

Transportation — school buses — is fueled by levy funds.

Just over half the total goes to teacher and staff compensation, helping keep the district competitive in its constant battle to retain its best and brightest and avoid losing them to Spokane, which pays significantly better.

PFSD trustees are asking for $4,955,000 per year for two years. That represents 7.5 percent of the district’s overall budget — far less than the amounts approved by voters in Coeur d’Alene and Lakeland this spring, yet enough to really hurt students and schools if it doesn’t pass.

We strongly encourage residents to vote "yes" on this essential funding mechanism for an outstanding school district whose trustees are considered among the most fiscally responsible in the state.

The same can be said for Kootenai County Fire and Rescue. Its leaders have a reputation for finding what's actually needed and not asking for anything above that.

The KCFR bond would increase patrons' property taxes by about $24 per $100,000 assessed valuation. We believe that's a small price to pay for improved response times in life and death situations.

If you live within the area served by the school district and/or the fire district, you can directly improve your community at low or no additional cost. Vote "yes" for both if you have that option.

For more information on the school levy: https://www.pfsd.com/Content/450

And on the fire and rescue bond: https://bit.ly/3xpme3z

Voters may request absentee ballots now through May 7. Visit www.idahovotes.gov, select “request absentee ballot” and complete the form. It takes only a minute or two.

Early voting is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 3-14 at the elections office, 1808 N. Third St. in Coeur d’Alene.

May 18 is election day, with polls open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.