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TFSD Looking to Taxpayers for Funding

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By Aimee Burnett

Twin Falls, Idaho (KMVT-TV) $9 million … It's a number taxpayers will see on a ballot in March.

The Twin Falls School District will soon be looking to taxpayers for funding to meet operational costs.

Two years ago the district asked taxpayers for a $7.5 million supplemental levy to fund education.

That expires in 2013, but unfortunately the need for funding does not.

$9 million over two years for a supplemental levy...that's how much money the Twin Falls School District needs to keep the school district running.

"It will help immensely to be able to provide the programs and the level of education we're able to provide today," said Dr. Wiley Dobbs, Superintendent, Twin Falls School District.

Two factors are influencing the need for the funding.

First, over the last few years there has been a significant change in funding at the state level .

"The funding from the state level has diminished and districts like Twin Falls have had to pick up those costs through supplemental levies," said Dobbs.

Over eighty supplemental levies have passed statewide.

Second, the district has seen a four and a half percent spike in enrollment in the last year.

"We try to keep our numbers in the lower grades at a 1 to 21 ratio, one teacher to 21 kids. And, right now in kindergarten and 1st we're about 1 to 26," said Bill Brulotte, Principal, Perrine Elementary School.

The levy will be on the March ballot next year.

So, what will happen if it doesn't pass?

"We'll have to look at going back to more furlough days that we've done in the past, perhaps cutting staff, cutting programs," said Dobbs.

For the 700 students at Perrine Elementary and the thousands of students district–wide, school leaders believe it would severely impact their level of education.

"Those kids rely upon that exposure to have a well–rounded education," said Brulotte.

Here's how the levy will impact your wallet.

"So, if a person has a $100,000 home, per month they would see about a $2.25 addition to what they currently pay," said Dobbs.

Asking for the bare minimum needed to keep afloat.

Right now district funding is about half of what it was pre–recession.

If the district sees another large enrollment spike next fall, there may be a need for an emergency levy.



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