Times-News Editorial: Six years ago, in an attempt to provide tax relief for homeowners, the Idaho Legislature shifted public education spending off of property taxes and largely onto the sales tax.
Now that decision is starting to reverse itself, without any change of heart in the Statehouse.
Hastened by the recently poor economy, supplemental levies funded by property taxes are now a standard part of the budget for most of Idaho’s school districts.
“It’s become a part of our regular operating expenses,” Wendell Superintendent Greg Lowe said last month of his district’s two-year, $155,000 annual supplemental levy that it hopes to renew.
That leaves those districts whose residents have turned down recent levy issues falling even more behind their peers in Idaho’s supposedly free, uniform education system.
Former chief state economist Mike Ferguson pointed that problem out in a report released just last week. According to the The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.), he believes the current funding system might violate the Idaho state constitution, thanks to policies that have led more than two-thirds of school districts to secure supplemental levies.