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Bonner County Commissioner Weighs In On LPOSD Levy

Voters cannot be blamed for saying no when school officials are trying to manipulate them.

School District Wants 49% Increase in Levy

Bonner County Commissioner Weighs In On LPOSD Levy

My wife and I have lived in Bonner County for 30 years. Over the last two decades we have watched the recurring divide in our communities when the school district rolls out its latest supplemental levy for voter approval.

Two of the “must have ingredients” of the controversial levy are the funding of all extracurricular activities and the salaries of a third of the district staff. Total district staff is listed as 900.

Just wondering: Between 2013, when the levy was “only” $15 million and now that it’s over $25 million, has the enrollment and therefore the cost of extracurricular activities gone up that much to justify a $10 million increase? Have the number of employees gone up that much? Or the salaries or both?

The Idaho Department of Education website has some answers to these questions.

There hasn’t been a surge in student numbers, in fact, quite the opposite. The considerable enrollment decline has only recently improved, mostly due to the fact that the district has actively counted homeschoolers who attend part-time, but boost enrollment numbers. With this information, extracurricular activities costs should have dropped or at least remained flat.

There is also no indication that the district has 900 employees, not on the Idaho Department of Education website nor on the school district’s payroll reports. The numbers reported by the Idaho Department of education have hovered between the mid-to-upper 500’s, the payroll reports around 600.

Facts are stubborn things and voters cannot be blamed for saying no when school officials are trying to manipulate them.

Steve Bradshaw
Bonner County Commissioner District 1

 

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5 Comments on Bonner County Commissioner Weighs In On LPOSD Levy

  1. The number of people working for the Lake Pend Oreille School District?
    There are two numbers that people reference when answering this question. One number refers to Staff FTE (Full Time Equivalent Employees) and the other references the actual number of employees or headcount. For example, two four-hour employees equals 1 FTE, but count as two separate people employed by the district. There are approximately 500 FTE and approximately 900 people that work for the school district in any given year. This number fluctuates throughout the year.

    • What counts as an “employee” is who is actually receiving a paycheck. Monthly LPOSD payroll reports, reviewable online, consistently show around 600 employees who are actually being paid. There may be more people on “backup” or “substitute” lists, in case a bus driver or a teacher needs a temporary replacement, but those people are not paid while on the list and waiting to be called up. Hence, LPOSD’s claim that they would have to “lay off” 300 employees is meaningless; they are not paid anyway while they’re waiting to jump in as a temporary replacement.

  2. LPSOD estimated 1800 students. Meridian, Idaho estimated 37,000 students. Superintendent’s salary of LPOSD over $156,000.00. Salary for Meridian’s superintendent $150,300.00. Governor of Idaho salary $138,000 responsible for estimated 1.8 million Idahoans. And you wonder why the governors of Idaho are reluctant to increase teacher salaries in this state? Here’s a brilliant idea let’s pass a 25 million dollar levy on property owners, so the superintendent can make a ridiculous amount more than the governor, so the teacher’s salaries can be supplemented, but the rest of Idaho without Levy support suffers. Great idea Sandpoint!

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