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Many factors in voting for Aberdeen school levy

By Chris Cole
Published On: Aug 27 2013 10:41:30 PM CDT

Voters approved a levy that would give schools in Aberdeen $275,000 a year for five years to make needed building repairs

ABERDEEN, Idaho -

Voters in Aberdeen's School District 58 have approved $275,000 every year for fives years to make much needed repairs in their schools.

"I think it's highly important, especially considering the state has completely cut our budgets," said first-grade teacher Catrina Duke.

Duke said the buildings are showing their age and literally falling apart.

"In our district we have leaking roof tiles, and one of them just caved in yesterday,” Duke said. “So the kids are walking around garbage cans in the hallway as water is dripping from the ceiling."

She said this isn't the first time it's happened, detailing another ceiling cave-in in another first-grade classroom last year. She said it would have been an unthinkable tragedy if a child had been under the ceiling at the time.

Add in heating and cooling issues year-round, and she says this levy is past due. She feels the students learning environment directly affects their learning. Mayor Morgan Anderson agrees.

"You really don't like the levy, but you need it,” Anderson said. “We use taxes to pay for the community, and the schools are part of that community, and they need money. So we have to levy the people to keep our schools going.”

But there's more on voters' minds than their schools.

They're also thinking about jobs. Next spring the JR Simplot Company, which has been a major part of Aberdeen, is leaving and taking about 100 jobs with it. But does that mean those who will be jobless, their families and their taxpayer dollars will leave Aberdeen?

Considering the levy also takes effect next spring, if those 100 families leave, that leaves a big dent in a community with fewer than 2,000 people.

"So it's going to be a challenge to find new businesses to come in,” Morgan said. “The JR Simplot Company will not let us look for business for the plant until they close it."

But Anderson says they are a strong community and will come together to find a solution.

In total, there were 147 yes votes and 66 votes against.

They can use the money to add to, remodel or repair any existing building, but not to build anything new, as that would require a bond. 

To see the breakdown of the vote, click here: http://bit.ly/15i0xwu

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