NAMPA, Idaho — A southwestern Idaho school district with money problems due to financial mismanagement is considering a raffle to get out of debt.
The Idaho Statesman reports (http://bit.ly/10OgXKH ) that the Nampa School District is teaming with a retired developer who has a plan to auction off 40 area houses.
Philip J. Allaire, of Middleton, has started a nonprofit organization licensed by the Idaho Lottery Commission to raffle the homes.
"I never finished high school," he said. "I never got my education and I saw the stumbling blocks along the way that education would have eliminated."
A series of financial miscues have led to the problems for the Nampa School District, the most recent revealed earlier this month when a financial analyst discovered $1.2 million went to general operations rather than repayment of bonds. Other budgeting errors, discovered last summer, include counting almost $3 million in one-time money twice and over-expenditure of about $1 million.
The end result is a $5.1 million deficit that has district officials looking at cutting costs, including eliminating some jobs.
Allaire said he will buy the homes and refurbish them. A raffle ticket for a house will cost $100 and when 2,500 tickets have been sold, the house will be raffled.
Allaire said his salary at the nonprofit is $1 per year. He said he will deduct expenses, with the rest going to the school district.
Tickets are already available for a house in Nampa assessed at $69,700. Allaire said he put $26,000 worth of improvements into the house that was built in 2001.
Tom Michaelson, Nampa's school superintendent for seven months whose resignation a week ago becomes effective at the end of this month, gave Allaire the OK to proceed with the plan.
"I didn't refuse," said Michaelson.
The two worked with the school district's legal counsel to put the house raffle program in place.
Allaire said he wants to see after-school program restored.
"Nothing else matters," he said about education. "It's got to be funded somehow."
Information from: Idaho Statesman, http://www.idahostatesman.com