COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho – Coeur D'Alene voters have some decisions to make on the March ballot.
The supplemental two-year school levy of $12.9 million is up for renewal – as is an additional $1 million dollar levy for school safety improvements in the wake of the tragedy in Newtown.
"You turn your thoughts inward and you say, ‘Oh God, please don't let it happen here,'" Superintendent Hazel Bauman told KHQ.
After the December shootings in Newtown, the district decided it's time to make a change. Over winter break, representatives met with police officials to determine what specifically could be improved. As a result, they want to have more restricted access at entrances, doors that lock from the inside, security cameras, bullet-proof glass, fencing, and more school resource officers; changes that would be made in each of the district's 17 schools.
"There's a price tag with all the changes that would need to be made, and while we could chip away at that over the next 5 or 10 years, the danger and sense of security for our students, staff and families is now," Bauman said.
She adds, a million dollars won't be the ‘end all' of safety costs, but it's a good place to start.
Lori Wallin, a PTA President and mother of a third grader, agrees.
"We can't offer children a 100% guarantee of safety, but I think we do an extraordinary job of doing the best we can," Wallin said, calling the purposeful choices about which safety upgrades to make "effective and thoughtful."
The extra $1 million levy for safety improvements would cost an average of $17.26 for the owner of a home valued at $200,000. It would be a one-time payment, and the extra money will be on the ballot as a separate item from the supplemental $12.9 million dollar levy, so voters have the choice of passing one or both.
But not everyone is in support.
"Some people think because you can't get to perfect, therefore it's not a good use of money to spend it on safety and security measures," Bauman added.
Still, she expects it will pass come March.
The amount and language of the levy needs to be delivered to the county clerk by January 25th, but there will be ongoing community discussions about the issue. For more information, check the district's website at http://www.cdaschools.org/