Friday, January 11, 2019

Community Visioning Meeting

Sixty community members, staff and students met on January 10 to envision a new Toledo High School. The purpose was to hear some of the ideas that have been surfacing in the community and generate some excitement for the project. The meeting was facilitated by the architectural firm Dowa/IBI ("DOW-uh eye-bee-eye") The team included Jason King, a 2007 graduate of Toledo High School who now works as a Civil Engineer in Boise.

Participants shared memories of the current school and important places and then looked at photographs of existing schools. They placed red dots on photos of things that they wouldn't like to be part of the new school and blue dots on photos of things that are attractive. The facilitators captured comments made during the visioning. In addition, participants recorded additional thoughts about the new school that were collected by the team. We're expecting a summary in a few weeks. When I receive it, I'll post it here. I'm adding the photos (without dots) as an attachment to this posting for your review. Visioning Displays

When the Visioning portion of the meeting was concluded, I presented information about a levy proposal that  will be on the February ballot. The current operations levy is expiring at the end of the year and a replacement is proposed to maintain the levels of programming and staffing that the community has come to expect from the schools. Levies pay for things that the State does not: athletics, extra curricular activities and travel, and Music to name a few. In addition, levy dollars support maintaining courses in CTE such as Wood and Metal Shop and Careers in Education. Finally, levy dollars supplement maintenance and repairs as well as low class sizes and additional instructional supports.

The current levy is $1.1 million and we've been paying for that since 2015. The proposed replacement for that levy is $895,000 for two years. This is a 67 cents/ $1000 DECREASE in tax rates for our community.

I've been asked why the district is asking for more money after just receiving $7 million. The answer is simple: the $7 million bond can only pay for a new high school. Not one penny can be diverted to operations. Nor can that money be used to repair or enhance any other school in the district.

The levy will continue the programs and services that are already offered and continue them. It is not a new tax. You can see a list of what the levy supports and a comparison of tax rates from 2017-2021 here Tax Rates

There was concern that our community might not be aware of the levy and that turnout would be too low to validate the election. We've learned today that no validation is required. The passage of the levy will be dependent upon the total votes cast only. No turnout threshold is required.

The Design Committee will begin looking at the visions of the community including drawings by students, emails to Dale Merten (Chair of the Design Committee) and input at future meetings to design the new school.