West Ada ponders options after voters reject $104 million bond

MERIDIAN, Idaho (KBOI) -- On the second day of class, the West Ada School District flunked a pretty big test.

Voters Tuesday rejected the school district's $104 million bond proposal to build three new schools to ease overcrowding.

Was it a mistake to have this election the day after school started?

"That's a good question," says district spokesman Eric Exline. "We've never done that before. But Idaho limits you to four dates, and the 4th Tuesday in August is one of them."

To be fair, the school district faced an uphill challenge: securing a two-thirds majority in the midst of a meager voter turn-out of less then 10 percent.

So what's next?

Even temporary measures are expensive. The district has between 50 to 60 portable classrooms. And each one costs $80,000.

Lake Hazel Middle School has ten portable buildings. They even have a portable bathroom. But buying more portables, even moving existing ones, racks up a big bill.

Says Exline: "Then you spend another 20 to 30 thousand dollars putting it in place, and you've got $100,000 of investment."

Where does that money come from?

"We get that out of our plant levy which is also a local levy voters approve every ten years," Exline explains. "So we're paying for that out of the capital budget."

West Ada plans to try the bond again but for the uncertain future the crowded conditions will remain, with some classes having as many as 57 students.

Under state law, the next opportunity for West Ada to run a construction bond is in the November general election. After that, it's in March 2015.