Vote yes for PFSD levy
| May 8, 2021 1:00 AM
I would like to encourage everyone in the Post Falls School District (PFSD) to get out to vote for the May 18th Supplemental Levy election.
There have been some letters to the editor and even political propaganda from entities like the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee encouraging people to vote “no” on this levy. In these letters/posts, there never seems to be anything specific with regards to OUR SCHOOL DISTRICT. Some of the people writing letters and encouraging people to vote “no” have never been in one of our schools, sat down and talked with our teachers or other staff, or understand how levy funds are used. Some don’t live in the district and/or don’t have or never had kids in our school district.
So, I would like to take this opportunity to share why my wife and I are voting for this levy. We have never taken our schools for granted. When we moved here 26 years ago, we thought long and hard about enrolling our kids in private school. I was worried about whether they would get the kind of education we knew they would need to be successful. After a lot of thought, we chose to enroll them in PFSD, but at the same time, we knew we needed to get involved to make sure this was the “right” decision for our family.
Both of our boys attended PFSD from kindergarten through graduation and are successful young adults, of whom we are very proud. Over the past 25 years, including the years our boys were in the district, my wife and I volunteered hundreds if not thousands of hours in the district. Joanne was in the elementary schools nearly every day for over nine years, grading papers, working in the library, helping wherever she was needed. I often helped at recess, read books to kids, went to all our parent teacher conferences, served on PTOs and Strategic Planning Committees, interviewed and hired superintendents, and volunteered at carnivals and other school events. In addition to all of that, I have been elected various times to the Board of Trustees and currently serve as the Board Chair.
As a parent first and a board trustee second, I could not be prouder of our district, from top to bottom. Joanne and I witnessed first-hand the dedication and commitment of the district leadership team and the teachers and staff throughout the district. We feel fortunate our kids had the opportunity to spend K-12 in Post Falls, and we are going to vote “yes” for this replacement supplemental levy on May 18.
From a board member’s perspective, there is nothing these levy dollars are spent on that does not support day-to-day operations of the PFSD. These levy dollars cover the gap between state funding and our current activities and programs. Our district and board have always been very conservative.
Contrary to what some have stated, this proposal, if approved, will not increase school district taxes for the average Post Falls taxpayer. Unlike other taxing entities, the levy request is for a fixed dollar amount. If approved, the total dollar amount does not change based on growth in Post Falls. So as our community grows, the school district tax is spread among more people and school district taxes continue to decrease. PFSD’s tax rate is the lowest in the area and one of the lowest in the state. For example, 4 years ago, we ran the same levy amount of $4.955 million, and the rate was $1.61 per thousand of assessed property value. Today, asking to renew the same amount of $4.955 million, the rate drops to $1.02 per thousand and we believe that will actually drop below $1.0.
Look at graduation rates in our district. Idaho state average is 79 percent; the most recent PFSD graduation rate is 92.5 percent, nearly 13 points higher than the state average. Ninety-five percent of our Career Technical Students graduate with an industry recognized certification and last year our High School students earned 4,100 college credits from the University of Idaho and North Idaho College. Post Falls School District is doing a great job. I would encourage anyone with questions about the levy and what the funds are used for to go to our district website (pfsd.com) and read the Levy Informational Newsletter link.
When the pandemic clears, if you want to see first-hand the value of education in Post Falls, I would encourage you to attend the New Vision Alternative High School graduation. Each graduate at our Alternative HS writes a speech, and I leave each time with tears in my eyes; these students are so grateful PFSD did not let them fall through the cracks. You should see the love they have for their teachers as they call them out by name. Many in the alternative school also leave high school with college credits and scholarships.
I could go on and on about how proud I am of the Post Falls School District, but I will close with this. It is not hard to see; Post Falls is growing, and it is going to be vital to keep up and continue to have community support for public education in Post Falls. If you haven’t already, come out and see for yourself the positive things our school district is doing. I know you will be as impressed with the Post Falls School District as Joanne and I are.
Dave Paul currently serves as the Board Chair of the Post Falls School District Board of Trustees.