A group of Treasure Valley school district officials hit a major milestone last month in their decades-long push for more growth-based funding, writes Idaho Press reporter Blake Jones. At its annual convention in November, the Idaho School Boards Association overwhelmingly endorsed a proposal to allow school districts to assess impact fees, which are one-time fees on new commercial and residential construction. Similar proposals have failed to gain the association’s support in years past.
The resolution, cosponsored by the rapidly growing Kuna and Middleton school districts, aims to reduce districts’ reliance on voter-approved property tax increases to build or renovate schools.
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Though a mix of school board members, state legislators and school district administrators have for at least 20 years pushed the Idaho Legislature to let school districts collect impact fees, no proposal has gone the distance in the statehouse. The closest any bill came to passing was carried in part by Rep. Mike Moyle, R-Star; it petered out without a vote in 2006.
Under current state law, impact fees can be charged for roads, parks and capital improvements for police and fire departments — but not for schools. You can read Jones’ full story here at idahopress.com (subscription required), or pick up Friday’s print edition of the Idaho Press; it’s on the front page.
Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.