'Concerned Citizens of District 55" to conduct meeting on levy
"Concerned Citizens of District 55," a group formed in January to monitor the actions and decisions of Blackfoot School District 55 and share information with the public, is sponsoring a public meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Blackfoot Performing Arts Center to discuss the district's supplemental levy election on March 12.
Most recently, the group spearheaded recall efforts against former school board members Scott Reese and Jenny Hong for their decisions regarding the $220,000 payout to former superintendent Scott Crane. The two have since resigned.
In a January board meeting, the district asked voters to approve $1,975,000 per year for the next two years in order to continue to educate students at the same level that they are now.
Rick Bigler, spokesperson for "Concerned Citizens of District 55" said that the group is in favor of the levy and that the purpose of the meeting it to make the public aware of its importance.
"A lot of people don't understand the levy. People are discouraged right now and they think that by not voting for the levy that they are punishing the school board, when it [the levy] has nothing to do with the board, the former superintendent or the hiring of a new superintendent," he said.
"This is money used to supplement funds that have been cut or frozen by the state, for things such as technology in education, teaching salaries and building maintenance."
Bigler stresses that "the levy is not a new or added tax and that it has been in place for many years. "The vote is to continue the levy, not raise it," he said.
In light of the "Scott Crane payout controversy," a district finance committee assigned to making the levy recommendations suggested that the district promise that "if the levy passes," that the funds be kept in a separate bank account and monitored by a third-party financial manager.
Bigler encourages the public to attend the meeting.
"Come learn, ask questions and get involved," he said. "Anyone can join our group and anyone can attend the meeting."