Idaho Gov. Brad Little has proposed a $2 billion investment in public schools over the next 10 years to shore up dilapidated infrastructure.
The Idaho Statesman reports that the investment would provide property tax relief and enable school districts who repair and replace their school buildings.
Local school districts have long struggled to fix their dilapidated, aging school buildings, in part because of the high two-thirds voter approval threshold that school bonds require. Schools face leaking roofs, collapsing ceilings from water damage and failing plumbing.
“We’ve all seen the pictures and videos of some Idaho schools that are neglected – crumbling, leaking, falling apart,” Little said.
Little’s proposed investment includes $75 million for a state education grants program that gives money to graduating high school students who enroll in in-demand job training programs.
Little’s budget director, Alex Adams, told reporters that he hopes to raise a $1 billion bond, which would be distributed to school districts around the state by a to-be-determined formula. The money could be used for school expansions or major renovations. The other $1 billion would come from state sales tax revenue, with $125 million per year for construction and $75 million for maintenance over the next ten years.
Adams said the governor’s office expects the specifics of the school funding plan to be sorted out during the Legislative session.