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Idaho: Help Us Show Readers and Officials Issues With Your School Building

The Idaho Statesman and ProPublica have reported on poor conditions in school buildings. Here’s how to get in touch with your own stories and photos.

Many chairs stacked in a dark, unfinished space with puddles of water on the bare concrete floor.
Water seeps across the floor in the boiler room at Valley View Elementary School in Bonners Ferry, Idaho. The aging school is part of the Boundary County School District. (Sarah A. Miller/Idaho Statesman)

Update, Jan. 25, 2024: This post was updated to reflect that an article including photos and stories from the community has been published but that people can still contact us with story tips.

The Idaho Statesman and ProPublica asked Idaho residents for photos and stories about their school buildings. In response, more than 300 students, parents, teachers, maintenance directors and superintendents told us about their schools.

We included many of these examples — such as schools using coal for heat, tarps to catch leaking water and former storage rooms as classrooms — in a story that was published in December. The governor has since proposed additional funding for school facilities while lawmakers are considering changes to make it easier for districts to pass bonds.

But we still want to hear from you. If you’d like to contact the Statesman and ProPublica to tell us something about your school, you can email [email protected] or fill out the form below. We won’t publish anything you share without reaching out first.

Also, if you’re an educator who is interested in sharing our project with your students, and if there’s any way we can help, please get in touch.

If you want to send visuals of conditions in your school, here are some tips:

  • You don’t need a fancy camera — your phone camera works just fine!
  • Photos taken from multiple perspectives are best, such as one with the full context of what’s happening and a close-up in which we can clearly see the problem you’re trying to show. (See examples below.)
  • It’s best to move closer to the subject of your photo, rather than zooming in.
  • Please don’t edit, Photoshop or add filters to your photos. For journalism, we need visuals to be authentic and untouched in any way!

Here are some examples. Notice how the photos show different perspectives.

A good example of a photo description: Steve Bortz, Valley View Elementary’s head of maintenance, shines a light to show two buckets hanging inside a hallway ceiling to collect water leaking from pipes. These photos were taken on Jan. 22, 2023, by Sarah Miller of the Idaho Statesman.

Peter DiCampo, ProPublica, and Sarah Miller, Idaho Statesman, contributed reporting.

Asia Fields

Asia Fields is an engagement reporter with ProPublica.

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