School Officials Need Educating

No one (other than growthophobes) wants to stand in the way of growth–often erroneously termed “progress.” However like cancer, the Treasure Valley is on the verge of growing itself to death.

Meridian beams with pride at being the second largest city in the state. Meanwhile they also have the busiest intersection at Fairview and Eagle Road along with a school system chronically in need of more money through property tax bonds.

We often hear folks claim, “you can’t stop growth.” Maybe, maybe not.

What we can stop is encouraging growth. Every city, county, and the state all have versions of “economic development” agencies. In one form or another these agencies, while perhaps well intended, tend to PAY businesses or individuals to populate our valley which puts a tremendous financial burden on schools.
Elementary school teacher helping a student in her classroom. MR boy, student, elementary, classroom, education, study, school, curriculum, learning, teaching, teacher
The most glaring example is the overwhelming need to replace Whittier elementary school where more kids attend classes in house trailers than in the main building. School officials blame it in part on progressive teaching in multiple languages. Many parents want their kids to experience the cultural benefits and language skills offered there.

Sounds good. An admirable effort. The problem arises when Boise and Ada housing officials vow to build “affordable housing” on bare ground in the vicinity. Since it is within an urban renewal district, NONE of the taxes on the improvements or appreciated value will go to Boise City or the Boise School District–it all goes to the urban renewal agency which is dedicated to attracting more business, which attracts more people, which attracts more kids, more cars, more bikes, more demand on water, etc. The contractors, bankers, developers all love it. The rest of the community pays the bill.

Former BSU football coach Dan Hawkins had it right when he said, “Bigger isn’t better. Better is better.”

The financing scheme at Harris Ranch in Boise’s east end has created a demand for a junior high school, fire station, and now a new elementary school. In fact, Boise school super Don Coberly revealed plans for a potential BOND REQUEST from voters for $172 million. College of Western Idaho is seeking another $180 million for new facilities, including tax-exempt facilities in the urban renewal district near Whittier along the Boise River at Main St.

We calculated that Boise schools, the city, county, ACHD and others lose a combined total of about $378,000 in property taxes on the SkyWest hanger the city built for the airline. That annual loss in tax revenue is FOREVER because there is no tax on city-owned buildings. The airport charges rent to pay off the bonds, but citizens were not allowed to weigh-in on the decision to build the $20 million plus structure.

If school officials would publicly oppose some of the unwarranted growth, or perhaps have veto authority over development plans, perhaps things would be more in balance.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. William A. von Tagen
    Sep 28, 2016, 4:39 pm

    Amen Brother Dave.

  2. You speak of taxes lost – look at all the property around the airport that the City or Feds own that pay no taxes.

    By the way – Boise School District IS NOT growing – not at all – and didn’t we pass a big bond for schools just a few years ago and we were told it would take care of the district “for years to come”???

    EDITOR NOTE–To clarify: if SkyWest paid for their own hangar, the taxes would be about $378,000. Realistically, if they had to pay taxes they may not locate here. But we wouldn’t have to provide roads, schools, sewer, water, etc. demanded by 100 employees who may or may not live in the city.

  3. The city also owns most of the adjacent property to the northeast near NIFC.

  4. This is very true.
    The Boise City told us that they just approve the subdivision plans, and let the school district deal with the number of new students.
    The school district has a form to fill out before approval of the subdivision, where they can comment on school capacity or safe roads to school.
    They just check it FOR development, bcs all these government organizations are incrementally growing systems. They need growth to feed their growing organization.
    I think unplanned growth costs taxpayers more.
    And we all know that Meridian schools are underfunded and burdened with the unplanned growth, because Meridian city and Ada County do not engage in comprehensive planning. Not sure how much more planning Boise City does, but Boise School District has more money than West Ada to deal with, or so everyone says.

  5. Watching the CWI vote will be interesting as they seem to be smart enough to include projects in both Ada and Canyon counties. Will that be enough to entice voters?

    I too share BG’s concerns about the tax implications of urban renewal districts and their promotion of the Westside district. CCDC’s URD’s have typically been mostly commercial in the downtown core. This Westside district surrounds a residential area and is helping to make it a hip place to live. Residential property values are sure to spike up also, but they do not directly impact the local school, Whittier.

    FYI Facts:
    -Last facilities bond for Boise Schools was passed in 2006. This link has a list of what was included.

    – Enrollement in BSD is fairly steady, but the big change is the urbanization of schools (free/reduce lunch, languages).

  6. AbolishGovernment
    Sep 29, 2016, 2:22 pm

    While the rich folks distract the masses with phony “terrorist” attacks, poor people crime, manufactured racial strife, and celebrity worship, they rob us blind by destroying our cities with growth. A fine game indeed if you’re one of the few making a killing off the clueless masses.

  7. Worn Out’s logic and stats are offbase: If you have 1, 2 or 20 cars, and only 2 drivers, you aren’t putting gas into each and every car at 20 times a 1 car family. Unless you are driving each car 20 times as much as 1 car.

    Similarly, a 5 child household is putting 5X burden on the schools, which I believe is his point. Not 1 X. Now, if he means that household is only contributing 1 X property tax, then he’s correct.

  8. Bieter begone
    Sep 30, 2016, 6:50 pm

    Valley View is on the list to be replaced. This past summer, the BSD replaced the parking lot. It had to cost $100,000 at a minimum. How much you want to bet they’ll rip it up at construction? Oh well, it’s not their money.

  9. I question the high cost of construction of roads, parking lots and schools.
    These seem exhorbitant.
    I have read somewhere an opinion that it is because the roads are not built by people who know what they are doing.
    It has also been argued it is due to shortage of labor.
    This is another way unplanned growth costs taxpayers more money.
    Any other opinions on that?

  10. It’s all part of the system of political payback. You give me money for campaigns (which can be spent very loosely and even pocketed) and I’ll divert a contract to you for a ridiculously expensive government project with automatic delays and cost overruns. These projects are Taj Mahal expensive to maximize money to the middlemen and back to the government officials.

    Meanwhile the product of our schools is similar to the pink-slime packing houses produce after butchering perfectly healthy high-grade animals. These public schools are literally making troubled mush from perfectly healthy normal minds and souls.

    BTW: They are building new schools in the middle of huge lots of land so they can double as interment centers. Hillary is a Globalist Narcissist. Trump is just a Narcissist. Better learn about globalism, it’s gonna take all you have and make your job suck too. Ask a European if I’m correct.

  11. Want to talk about school problems? Come to Idaho City and hold my hand while I talk to you folks from Boise.

    90% of the land in Boise County is own by some form of Government… which means no taxes coming in. No jobs in Boise county so most folks work in Boise, or are retired or are on welfare.

    Back in the good old days when we had logging…. BCC, Guy Harris Lumber and Producers Lumber Company bought timber sales and paid big $$ for timber …. we got money from the feds for our schools when timber was logged. 10 to 20 million board ft. a year for the Idaho City district. Boise, Horsebend and Mt. Home district would put the amount up to about 70 to 80 million BF per year. And then the State would put up timber sales that would go in the State Endowment fund for schools. We built a nice Jr. and Sr. high school to keep from busing kids to Boise. And lets not forget the Idaho City is the county seat for Boise county. We felt schools are important.

    Well logging is gone…Many reason why but when it was gone so was our funding for schools. Our great government put stop gap bills to help but its days are numbered…

    Some folks talk about making a deal with the Boise school to bus our kids down to Boise… (Believe it or not that what we used to do for Jr. and Sr. high school. Teachers are leaving for better jobs and benefits that we sure can not offer. But every one agrees that a bond will not pass.

    So the next time you think you have problem…. Think of your neighbor less than 40 miles away.

  12. Porcupine, An excellent point on how schools are funded… and used to be funded. You are right, they are flush with money down here… and up there they are taxing the crap out of you because you lost that rehab center lawsuit a few years ago.

    Logging and school funding: I’m of the understanding the federal forest fire management business is destroying more timber than the loggers used to cut back in the day… by a large margin. Do you have any incites on this comparison, and how the fire fighting business can be taxed for schools? As it is now, all they do for a small town is anomalously get your young women knocked up, and increase business at local shops and eateries.

    Perhaps Clinton will send you a busload of federally funded refugees each week.

  13. Well, we checked out Idaho City schools before moving to Boise from Boise County so our kids can start elementary school.
    It was not so much lack of funds there as the long commute along Hwy 21 for kids, and lack of after school activities like in Boise that changed our mind about going to Idaho City schools.
    No one here was complaining about schools in Boise, I think we were saying Boise Schools have access to lots of money for construction.

  14. Whittier is a special case. Most of Whittier’s kids are from Garden City. I’m betting 95%.

    Let Garden City create its own school district and build their own schools.

    It’s funny how Boise wants to take back control of the roads from ACHD but you never here Boise city leaders talking about taking control of schools from Boise School District.

  15. cynic,

    I bet it is closer to 50% or less of Whittier’s population come from Garden City. according to the district boundaries.

    Boise never had control of the schools. The Independent School District of Boise City was formed during territory days in 1865.

Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address: