Education is essential to Idaho’s prosperity. Here are some upcoming elections to know about.
The last thing school patrons may have on their minds as they rush to the last barbecue or vacation of the summer is exercising their responsibility as citizens to vote. This is why it is so important to remind clients that important elections are imminent.
On August 30, 12 school districts will seek voter approval for $261.4 million for various education investments. Of that amount, $144 million would go to building or renovating school buildings, which will require a two-thirds majority for approval. An additional $117 million would be used to cover operating expenses for several districts, which requires a simple majority for approval.
Another big vote will take place Sept. 6, the day after Labor Day, in the Boise School District, where five trustee seats will be up for grabs. The winners of this election will determine the future direction of the second-largest school district in the state for years to come.
In polls, people say the government they trust the most is the one closest to them. They also repeatedly tell pollsters that their main concern is education. Unfortunately, their electoral behavior does not always reflect the importance they place on who runs their schools or how they are run.
For example, in 2020, only 6.1% of eligible Boise School District customers voted in the trustee election. And the last time a director election was held the day after Labor Day, only 3.7% of bosses voted. That means less than one in 10 voters decides the direction of one of the top school districts in the state of Idaho.
Nothing is more important to the perpetuation of our democracy than public education. The founding fathers of Idaho thought it was so important that they wrote it into our state constitution. Article IX, Section 1 reads as follows: the stability of a republican form of government depending chiefly upon the intelligence of the people, it shall be the duty of the Idaho Legislature to establish and maintain a general, uniform, and complete system of public and free common schools.
As an organization that represents more than 250 business leaders across our state, Idaho Business for Education believes that public education is essential to Idaho’s economic prosperity and quality of life. Our economy cannot thrive if we don’t have skilled talent, and the only way to develop that talent is through education.
If you live in the Coeur d’Alene, Boundary County, Middleton, Vallivue, Blaine County, Jerome, Madison, Plummer-Worley, Ririe, Salmon River, Buhl, or Three Creek school districts, visit the district’s website and find out more about how to vote on August 30.
If you live in the Boise School District, go to boiseschools.org to find out how to vote early, get an absentee ballot, or how to vote in person on September 6. If you’re worried about forgetting to vote after Labor Day weekend, consider voting early or getting a mail-in ballot.
All elections are important, even those that fall in the last days of summer. As Idaho employers, we invite you to vote in this important election. The future of our children, our economy and our quality of life depends on it.