Phil Campbell, director of public relations, Bonneville Joint School District 93

Voters in Bonneville Join School District 93 will be asked to approve a supplemental levy March 14. Supplemental levies have become a critical part of education funding in the state of Idaho, but it hasn’t always been this way. In fact, fewer than half of the districts in the state needed supplemental levies a decade ago. Today, more than 80 percent of the school districts in Idaho depend on them.

A supplemental levy helps pay for things that are not fully funded by the state, such as utilities, mandatory health insurance for employees, extracurricular activities and other programs for students. Even with the recent increase in funding from the state legislature, education funding is now just catching up to the level it was 10 years ago.

In 2007, voters in District 93 approved the current supplemental levy to help with the rapid growth in student enrollment and facilities. A few years later, cuts in state funding created massive budget reductions, and local funds from the supplemental levies became even more critical for school districts. Today, local funding for our schools is just as important as ever. District 93 is still recovering from a five-year stretch in which funding from the state was reduced by approximately $8,000,000 each year.

How will the supplemental levy impact property taxes? Property taxes are determined by both the levy rate and the assessed value of the property. The supplemental levy will not change the tax levy rate, which will remain at $5.79 per $1,000 of taxable value.

The supplemental levy was renewed in 2014. Why are we being asked to vote on it again? District 93 patrons have approved the supplemental levy four times since 2007. By law, supplemental levy funding is only valid for two years. When the levy expires, an election is required to renew the funding.

How many school districts in Idaho have supplemental levies? Ten years ago, fewer than half of the districts in Idaho had supplemental levies. Today, 93 school districts have supplemental levies to offset the decline in state funding.