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Elmore County citizens' petition to join CSI taxing district moves forward

College of Southern Idaho sign
Frankie Barnhill
Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho State Board of Education moved forward a petition Wednesday that would expand the College of Southern Idaho’s footprint to another county.

More than 100 Elmore County voters signed a petition in August to make the county part of CSI’s taxing district – the threshold needed to kick off the process of becoming part of a community college district.

Right now, Twin Falls and Jerome are the only counties in CSI’s taxing district, but the college also has a presence in Burley, Gooding and Hailey.

Billy Galloska is the mayor of Glenns Ferry, a city of about 1,300 people in the eastern part of Elmore County. He said he supports the petition.

“We have trouble keeping students in Elmore County, partly because they go off for training in other localities and they find an ability to grow in those areas,” he said.

More local higher education opportunities – or technical development programs – could keep a younger workforce around, he said.

CSI’s Board of Trustees approved the petition in November and sent it along to the State Board of Education.

The State Board’s role, said Executive Director Matt Freeman, was to make sure the petition’s statutory requirements were met. Seven board members voted to approve the resolution during Wednesday’s meeting; Superintendent Sherri Ybarra, an Elmore County resident, abstained.

Next, the measure will go before voters in Elmore County, where it’ll need to get support from a majority to pass. It’s not immediately clear when that election would be.

If approved, Elmore County property owners would contribute more than $2 million in taxes to CSI’s collections, and the college said it would expand services there accordingly.

"If the voters in Elmore County provide support for this at the ballot box, we'll provide the response commensurate with what we would receive in property taxes and services," said CSI President Dean Fisher during the board meeting Wednesday.

Find reporter Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen

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