Opinions / Op-eds

Op-Ed: Who will pay for eight new West Ada Schools?

IP article 4-8-22 “West Ada outlines need for 8 additional schools”

This is a problem for the Legislature to resolve and frankly is simple mathematics. The Concerned Citizens of Canyon County Committee, during the past three years has been urging the legislature to give school districts the ability to use impact fees for new school construction. With each new home comes kids under 18. Meridian’s population by U.S. census is estimated at 117,635. Of that 33,173 are under 18 and 22,115 are school age. For 1,000 new homes there are 2,820 new citizens with 530 school age children, one-fifth of the students in the new $70 Million school. The cost, $28,000 per student.

The cost of the schools required by growth is multiplied by the new population and paid by bonds, the cost of which is paid by property tax and the existing property taxpayers pay the bill for the new schools they do not need. If the legislature would simply amend IC 67-8203 (24) public facilities by adding (g) public schools. The problem would be solved. Then when building permits are issued that share of the cost of the new needed future schools would be part of the impact fee on new construction.

Note: impact fees are paid initially by the developer and become part of the final sale value of the home or business. They are no more than a temporary cost to the builder as is the cost of the material and labor to construct the home. They are simply a part of the sales price, and those fees will be isolated and utilized to pay for the cost of the new school buildings.

One cost solution to exceedingly expensive school buildings would be for Idaho’s legislature to accept a standard design for elementary, Middle, and High Schools which could be adapted to and for the anticipated school population. This would provide the proper facilities for a school at a minimum of cost.

When you go to the polls in the May 17th primary, remember, this issue has been before the legislature for 3 years and none of the present legislators acted on this.

Gem State Patriot News