District hopes for new levy approval - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

District hopes for new levy approval

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Administrators in the Coeur d'Alene school district are hopeful the taxpayers will approve a levy on March 10th. Administrators in the Coeur d'Alene school district are hopeful the taxpayers will approve a levy on March 10th.
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho -

Administrators in the Coeur d'Alene school district are hopeful the taxpayers will approve a levy on March 10th. Every two years for the last 25, the school has introduced supplemental levies and 1984 was the only year it had never passed. Now, administrators aren't calling the levy supplemental, they're saying it's essential.

"We are trying to get back to pre-economic collapse status," says Coeur d' Alene school district Superintendent Matthew Handelman. Handelman told KHQ since 2008, the school district has been trying to recover from serious cutbacks.

"We have not been able to stay on what's called the state's recommended text book adoption cycle," says Handelman. The adoption cycle says every six years the schools should update textbooks based on a particular focus of study, this year it's mathematics and next year it's science. Handelman says in his five years of being with the district they've only been able to adopt one half of the necessary books, once.

For teachers like Karen Grossman this is a big problem, she and others have been teaching common core curriculum on textbooks, some, more than 10 years old.

"I'm really trying to get my kids to understand the mathematics rather than just saying 'x' plus two equals four," says Grossman.

Grossman says common core is about getting students to think critically rather than remember the formula needed to solve a math problem. This has forced her, since common core was implemented three years ago, to create a lot of the teaching material herself since the textbooks don't coincide with common core curriculum.

"If we get those new books, they will have all of that material already in the books," says Grossman. "It'll really help the teachers out."

The district's problems don't just start and stop on the bookshelf. This new levy is $2.1 million more than the levies of previous years. That extra funding will go towards addressing outdated textbooks and also cut down on class size. Grossman says her classes on average have 30 or more students in them, a number she'd like to cut down by five.

"As a teacher it's hard getting to every student in the classroom and really helping them," says Grossman.

Cutting down class sizes would require more teachers, another issue the extra funding would address.

"This levy makes up 20 percent of our general fund," says Handelman. "It's no longer supplemental funding, this money is essential to providing needs not covered by the state."

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