The day after the school board voted to put this bond on the ballot, the IR ran an article called “School bond wouldn't cut operational costs as hoped.” Below are excerpts about the bond from that Feb.19 article:

  • The bond “…would not save operational expenses that could be reinvested in educational resources as hoped. Trustee Baur said those operational costs factored into her dissenting vote. “I think it’s going to create incredible financial hardships on the district,” she said.”
  • “… it relies on school consolidation in the future, Kultgen said.”
  • “Baur was also taken aback during Wednesday night’s meeting when she learned Kultgen and fellow Trustee Terry Beaver had heard of potential interest in buying Central School.”

Since this article, the “message” used to sell this bond to the public has been variable, but these facts remain the same:

  1. This bond will increase operating expenses beyond the operations budget and not free up any money for academic resources.
  2. It will close schools without proper community consensus. In fact, it will have to do so almost immediately to balance the operating budget.
  3. Superintendent Kultgen, some of the trustees, and others discussed selling Central during a Jan. 9 meeting and included that option in the bond plan presented on Feb. 18.
  4. The bonding capacity has doubled with new legislation – something the board knew was a possibility when crafting this bond. Now, there is presently enough bonding capacity to do each school justice, not just “touch on” them. But we’d have to create a new bond.

The real reason the board says we have to pass this bond now is because they fear competition from the jail bond. Instead, they ought to have been worried about putting forth a half-baked proposal and “packaging” it to make it appear as though it wouldn’t close schools and will benefit all kids – it doesn’t.

We know better. Vote no on this bond!

Liz Campbell

Helena

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