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No new elementary school in District 93; Bond fails to pass by slim margin

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IDAHO FALLS — A local school bond failed by a very slim margin on Tuesday.
Bonneville Joint School District 93 was asking voters for a $34.5 million bond to build a new elementary school south of Telford Road in Idaho Falls. The bond would have also provided funds to repair the roofs of other schools.
According to Bonneville County election results, 65.26% of voters were in favor of the bond while 34.74% were against the bond. A total of 2,818 people voted, and the measure was only 38 votes away from passing.
School bond issues in Idaho require a 66.6% supermajority support from voters to pass. 
“We lost right around 1%. Obviously, that’s disappointing when we are that close,” District 93 Superintendent Scott Woolstenhulme said. “In our state constitution, it requires a supermajority but it is certainly frustrating when a super minority is dictating what’s really going to be some pretty significant changes that we will have to make just to get by right now.”
The new school would have been built to enroll at least 700 students and it would have helped alleviate overcrowding issues at schools like Iona Elementary and Discovery Elementary.
Woolstenhulme says he will need to talk to the school board about possible changes and what’s next. His intent is to get ideas from the community and ask for their thoughts on what the district can do to try and provide enough classroom space.
“There are some things that we are going to have to take a close look at like all-day kindergarten that we just started this year. That certainly impacts the number of classrooms we have available,” Woolstenhulme said. “We don’t have good options, that’s for sure. It’s just going to be: what’s going to be our least bad idea to try and accommodate the growth.”
Eventually, he says, the bond will have to be ran again.
“There’s no question that we are going to have to bond for an elementary school again at some point. How soon that happens, that really is a board decision,” he said. “The hard thing is, whenever a bond gets delayed like this, inevitably, the cost of the school goes up. It never gets less expensive to build a school.”
The last elementary school that opened in D93 was Summit Hills Elementary School in 2010. In 2019, the district asked voters to approve a $42.7 million bond that would have paid for a new elementary school along with upgrades to two high schools. It failed.
RELATED | District 93 asking voters for $34.5 million bond for new elementary school
Woolstenhulme hopes in the future, there will be more voter turnout to help decide in these critical issues.
“I know people are busy. It’s disappointing when our election turnout is just under 3,000 voters and we have at least 16 to 17 thousand parents of our kids…it’s just a really small turnout,” he said. “People might fault us for running it (the bond) in May when there’s nothing else on the ballot. We really hope that in the future, people will come out just so we have a better representation from our entire community on these critical issues.”
The post No new elementary school in District 93; Bond fails to pass by slim margin appeared first on East Idaho News.

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