West Valley Bond Ballot Measure Fails

By Beacon Staff

Voters rejected the West Valley School’s effort to pass a $3.5-million bond to fund a school expansion last Tuesday.

District residents voted the measure down 678 to 422. West Valley School District Superintendent Todd Fiske said he was pleased by the high voter turnout, coming in at roughly 56 percent, but he had hoped for a different outcome.

The $3.5 million would have been used for an 18,000-square-foot addition on the south side of the school, which would have housed at least 10 new classrooms. The money would also have helped the school build its own kitchen.

The school board presented voters with the ballot because of burgeoning enrollment numbers. There has been a 33-percent student increase in the past 10 years, according to school officials.

Fiske said he was unsure what the next step would be to battle growing class sizes in West Valley because a lot of time and effort was put into passing the unsuccessful bond. He noted that the school board initially wanted to ask for $4.5 million, but trimmed their request by $1 million to account for the current economy.

The school could turn a corner of the lunchroom or the school stage into classrooms, Fiske said, but added that neither would be optimal learning environments.

Since the bond failed, Fiske said any future expansion efforts have probably been set back two years. However, he said he respects the voters’ choice because that is what democracy is all about.

“It’s tough, but that’s why we ask,” Fiske said.