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The East Helena School Board is encouraging community members to attend a meeting on today ahead of an election in November on whether the district should consider building a high school.

The Montana Legislature passed a bill last session to allow K-8 districts with more than 1,000 students to consider expansion by passing two ballot initiatives. The first is a vote on whether the community is interested in researching and planning for a high school. The second would require voters to pass a bond. East Helena could only put the measure forward once every five years.

In November, voters will receive a mail-in-ballot with language that asks if they are “for additional propositions to consider expansion of East Helena Elementary School District.”

The school board facilities committee and the Long Term Infrastructure Committee will be answering questions about the process of planning and building a new high school. There will also be guidance on how to get involved.

East Helena passed a $12 million bond in May to build a new school for first- and second-graders and add classrooms at East Valley Middle School. The bond will also pay for cafeteria updates at Radley Elementary.

Superintendent Ron Whitmoyer said community members are happy to see the implementation of the bond, but are often asking if the district is considering an expansion.

The tax impact for the 20-year bond works out to $4.07 per month for a house valued at $100,000. The average home in East Helena is valued at $135,000, which would be a school tax of $5.50 per month.

The meeting will start at 5:30 in the East Valley Middle School Library on Wednesday, Sept. 13.


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