State signs off on Sugar-Salem annexation request

The State Board of Education has signed off on a proposal to move some land from the Fremont School District into the Sugar-Salem School District.

A group of more than 100 property owners mostly south of and in the southern part of the city of Teton, many of whom enroll their children in Sugar-Salem anyway, petitioned for the change, and Sugar-Salem’s school board endorsed the petition in June. Fremont’s school board rejected the petition.

The petition says the petitioners feel more like part of the Sugar-Salem community since so many of them already send their children there. According to a letter supporting the petition, about 70 school-age children live in the affected area, of whom 50 go to Sugar-Salem. The area in question is closer to Sugar-Salem High School than to South Fremont High School but would mean a longer bus ride for elementary school students, who can go to the Fremont district’s Teton Elementary School now.

A state lawyer recommended acceptance of the petition after a public hearing in October, and the state board approved the request unanimously Wednesday with little discussion at a meeting in Twin Falls.

Voters in the affected area still must approve the annexation, likely in the May 2018 election.

Reporter Nathan Brown can be reached at 208-542-6757.