Sugar-Salem School District levy vote scheduled for Tuesday

Sugar-Salem School District Superintendent Chester Bradshaw stands next to a  classroom modular which will be used to house two sixth grade classes next year. Bradshaw is urging district patrons to vote during Tuesday's levy election. Without the levy funds, teacher positions and various programs will be cut. 

SUGAR CITY – Patrons of the Sugar-Salem School District have the opportunity to vote during the upcoming supplemental levy scheduled for Tuesday.

The two-year levy is for $200,000 and will be used to maintain existing programs and to offset budget shortfalls resulting from the state’s funding structure.

“Our state reimbursement formula does not adequately fund our educational needs of schools in Idaho,” said Sugar-Salem School District Superintendent Chester Bradshaw.

The upcoming levy is a continuation of a previous levy, and property taxes won’t go up, he said.

The levy requires a 50 percent plus one vote in favor of the initiative. Should the levy not pass, the school district will be forced to make drastic cuts, Bradshaw said.

“We’d have to cut something — cut teachers, cut programs — that’s what it amounts to,” he said.

Bradshaw reports that rural school districts such as Sugar-Salem often seek such levies to make up deficits that the state can’t fund. Idaho legislators are working to fix the problem, so, in the meantime, school districts look elsewhere for additional funding, he said.

“We hope that a new funding formula will recognize and correct some of the shortfalls that currently exist, particularly in schools our size,” Bradshaw said. “In the meantime, we have to be as conservative as we possibly can and hope that our good people will continue to support us.”

Bradshaw noted that the neighboring Fremont School District recently held a supplemental levy that its patrons approved.

“Essentially, levy monies are used to mitigate funding shortages in the day-to-day operation expenses for schools. Bond monies are for big projects like the major remodel of existing buildings or to build new facilities,” he said.

For now, Sugar-Salem School District officials need to focus on ensuring it has enough in its budget to retain its teachers and programs for the upcoming school year, Bradshaw said.

“That is why we need our folks to support us next week, to make sure we can continue doing the things we need to do to provide the best experience that we can for our kids.”

Those unable to vote on Tuesday may instead do so via absentee ballots available from both Fremont and Madison Counties. These absentee ballots are available at the Fremont County and Madison County courthouses. While Sugar-Salem School District’s schools are located in Madison County, a portion of the school district stretches into Fremont County.

In Madison County, absentee in-person voting started earlier this month and will continue until 5 p.m., on Friday. After this date, patrons will need to vote on Election Day. Residents may also register to vote on Election Day and will be eligible to cast their ballots on that day as well.

Election polls will run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the following Madison County locations: Plano-Plano LDS Church, 5973 N 5000 W; Salem LDS Church, 3470 N. Salem Highway; Sugar City-Sugar City Fire Station, 110 N. Railroad Ave., and at the Moody-Sugar-Salem District Office at 105 W. Center Street.

Sugar Salem School District patrons living in Fremont County may vote at one of the following locations: Egin LDS Church, 633 E. 400; Wilford LDS Church, 215 N 2400 East; and the Teton LDS Church at 215 N 2400 East.

Voters may also vote early in room 12 in the Fremont County Courthouse at 151 W. First North.

For more information on the levy, visit the Sugar-Salem School District’s webpage at https://www.sugarsalem.org/. Patrons may also call Madison County election officials at 208-359-6200 or call Fremont County election officials at 208-624-7332.