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Levy Votes Show Disconnect Between Idaho Public And Lawmakers On Education

Adam Cotterell
Boise State Public Radio

Idaho voters Tuesday agreed to pay more than $100 million in additional taxes over the next few years when they approved 36 new school district levies. Reliance on supplemental levies to shore up school budgets has increased dramatically since the recession spurred cuts in state funding.  

David Adler, director of the Andrus Center for Public Policy at Boise State, says the legislature is increasingly shifting the responsibility to fund education to local homeowners who pay property taxes. He says Tuesday’s levy votes reveal a disconnect between voters and lawmakers.

“We can view this as another rejection of the way the legislature is handling education and education funding in the state of Idaho," Adler says. “And the second conclusion I would draw from this is that Idahoans, irrespective of party and philosophy, are strongly committed to supporting education.”  

Adler says, so far, that disconnect with voters hasn’t manifested during legislative elections. He says that may change when voters connect the dots between the state education budget and their rising local property taxes. Adler also says there has been a lack of strong alternate candidates from either major party who reflect public opinion on education funding.     

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