Tracking code caldwell guardian

Sunday, March 11, 2012

School Levy Elections Tuesday March 13

Sunday, March 11th, Taken from the Boise Guardian by David R. Frazier

A bunch of school levy elections set for Tuesday because the Idaho Legislature has shifted much of the cost of education to property owners while proclaiming legislators have “held the line” on tax hikes. They may have held the line, but only with a massive tax shift back to local school districts.

While there is plenty of room to manipulate the figures, we were struck that annual per–pupil expenditures ranged from $4,769 in Meridian to $7,733 in Caldwell. Boise School District spends $7,400 per student. Which begs the questions: “Are Caldwell kids nearly twice as smart as Meridian’s students? OR “Are Meridian’s administrators nearly twice as efficient as Boise’s?”
Our constitution and laws are intended to leave the education of our students and administration of public schools up to “local control.” Board members serve without pay and administer budgets equal to the cities and counties in which they exist.
Here's a link to the Statesman story on school bond elections and financial data...

Here's another link from the Boise Weekly on School District Financial and student data and probably one of the best of the lot.


  1. Meridians' costs should be much lower due to the high population density level there.

  2. The sky is falling. The sky is FALLING. This drumbeat with all the emotional baggage with it occurs just about every election cycle for the school districts. At some point this ends, simply because their is nothing more in the revenue ditch except dust no mater how noble the need. The success of school levy elections is to a large extent due to parents and other people of interest voting yes while the issue is not on the radar of enough voters that could kill it. I suspect this is changing for reasons like the tight economy AND the perception of the school levy proponents being "Pigs at the Trough". A backlash WILL happen eventually which will make it much more difficult to fund even the most legitimate needs, because of the perception of poor management, stewardship, and self interests of the requester's.

  3. These school districts could do a lot better if the officials would contract an independent auditor to find all the waste, fraud, embezzlement, and other corrupt issues that is going on with the taxpayers money in their school districts. VOTE NO ON MARCH 13.

    1. They are a public entity and as such they are audited annually. All an audit does is state that all the money spent was accounted for and the record keeping of that spending meets generally accepted accounting standards.

      For example: Mayor Nancolas received a full family membership to the Caldwell YMCA from the Caldwell URA on the taxapayers. The cost was around $950 for this perk. The audit said nothing about the legality of this purchase for the Mayor with taxpayer money. This violated the URA laws of Idaho and was acknowledged as illegal but it served no public purpose to prosecute this crime.

      Likewise, Mayor Tom Dale, spent $1500.00 for employee lunches despite an AG Opinion 78-44 this is not allowed. All the audit will do is say the money was accounted for when spent.

  4. Not a bad thought on audit. A financial statement audit is what these districts have annually. The main objective is to verify that the revenues, expenditures, assets, and liabilities are properly accounted for on the financial statements. However, the main objective is not necessarily to find fraud, waste, and abuse. The auditor should investigate known instances of this type of activity that they become aware of or discover incidental to their other work. You do have to remember that a public accounting firm is a business and the incentive to write off minor incidents of fraud or impropriety is very high. The firm submits a bid to conduct the audit fully and their profitability is dependent on how efficient the audit is conducted. I worked for one for a while and the term “isolated incident” was often used when these types of irregularities were found as it required less extra time and thus less money.

    Any minor fraud found likely not be reported to anyone other than management (management such as Team Tom, but probably not the City Council) if it is less than "material" to the statements or if it is not indicative of a significant deficiency or material weakness in controls. Typical default materiality for most auditors is generally 1% of total assets or 3% of revenues. Due to the “isolated incident” incentive many are not further investigated and you’ll never see them in the audit report.

    The district could hire a specific fraud auditor or forensic auditor to specifically look to root out fraud. While an option it’s not exactly cheap as these are usually individuals with a high level of training
    and experience in investigative techniques so the cost adds up quickly (think $100+ per hour). So the cost can quickly outweigh the benefit. At the end of the day there aren’t many easy solutions or discoveries that auditors can or will provide, especially in some of the noted incidents in which anybody who cares is already aware.

  5. Schools are trying to pass tax increases to patrons and the Legislature is granting a $35 million dollar tax cut to the rich and to corporate taxes. This is just not right and they know it. That $35million should have gone to schools. The cut will mean almost noting when spread over the class getting the cuts.

    I am also wondering what school districts have done to live within their incomes. We have way too many school districts and way too much administrative overhead with 8 school districts in Canyon County.

  6. In Nampa a 1st year teacher is paid $31,700 plus benifits and retirement,A tenured teacher at the top of the scale is paid $54,216 plus additional for further education plus benifits and retirement. Teachers are hired fora 185 day contract. A good rule of thumb for benifits and retirement is at least 1/3 of the salary.So we are paying teachers approx $42,00 to $72,000 per year to work 60 to 70 days per year less than most people in privite business.They also donot work shifts, weekends or holidays as many are required to. It doesn,t seem to me they are treated too badly.Perhaps if they were to take their degree out into the real world and see what they are paid and how they were treated they might realize how good they have it.

  7. WOW, again I say wow. That was quite a win for the taxpayers that live within the area of the Nampa School District, not only was it a win for the people, but a mandated win. The people are demanding an end to all of the fraud, waste, and abuse that is going on within the realm of local government. Indeed the people of Nampa realize that a culture of corruption exists within their taxing area.


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