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Reminder to Voters: PCSD 25 is moving forward with Highland High School rebuild without a bond

Reminder to Voters: PCSD 25 is moving forward with Highland High School rebuild without a bond

Now that early voting is open for the May 21 election, the Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25 would like to take this opportunity to remind voters that it is moving forward with the Highland High School rebuild without the need to pass the bond.

Instead, the project to rebuild Highland will be funded by legislation that Governor Little signed into law on March 29. House Bill 521

Without the assurance that 521 was signed into law at the time of its deliberation on March 29, the same day Governor Little signed the bill into law, the Board missed the deadline to remove the bond language from the ballot.

“Now that HB 521 is law we can add clarity for our community members and say, ‘thank you,’ but we are not asking community members to vote for the bond anymore,” said Deanna Judy, Board Chair. “The funding provided by HB 521 will fulfill our purpose to rebuild Highland High School.”

So, what should voters do when they see the bond question on the ballot?

“Voters can simply leave the bond question blank,” suggests Courtney Fisher, Director of Communications. “We have other important elections that rely on voters to support public education. We think it’s important to keep a positive message when it comes to our bond and levy elections.”

Fisher emphasized that in the unlikely event the bond reaches the supermajority to pass, the District simply would not issue the bonds.

“We are exceedingly grateful to be able to rebuild Highland without relying on further support from taxpayers at this time,” Fisher said.

HB 521 is projected to provide $43 million to the Pocatello/Chubbuck School District to fund facilities construction. At the March 5 Work Session, the Board of Trustees discussed earmarking approximately $31-$33 million of the funding for the reconstruction of Highland High School. The new fund reapportions the $11-$12 million the district anticipated receiving over the next ten years from lottery funds. The Board would consider the option to continue allocating those funds as part of the district’s annual Capital Improvements Program (CIP) as they have previously been allocated.

The Board took action to earmark the lump sum of new funding provided by HB 521 and use it in combination with insurance replacement monies to reconstruct Highland High School. The insurance settlement is estimated at $22-$25 million. The April 2023 fire was ruled accidental and electrical in nature, and is a fully covered loss.

As the building efforts begin, the Board and District encourages all members of the community to rally together in support of this transformative endeavor. Every individual has a vital role to play in shaping the future of Highland High School and ensuring its legacy endures for generations to come.

To follow the progress of rebuilding Highland High School, please visit the Rebuild Highland website, which will be updated throughout the duration of the rebuilding process.