Though East Helena Public Schools is not planning to seek an additional property tax levy to fund the operation of its new high school, the board of trustees is leaving that option open.
During a meeting earlier this week, the board approved a resolution calling for an election in 2019. The resolution includes the election of three trustee positions, as well as a measure seeking additional levies to operate and maintain the High School District for the 2019-20 school year.
The school budget is still being drafted, and Superintendent Ron Whitmoyer said the district will have a clearer picture of where it stands in March. He explained that he is advising against calling for an additional mill levy at this point, but the resolution will give the school district a way to potentially generate more revenue if the budget falls short.
"However, there is little doubt we will not have to run additional voted levies to operate the district," Whitmoyer said. "But we always hedge our bets in February to avoid being unprepared."
Whitmoyer mentioned that the school district gained about 40 new students and brought in about $213,000 in new revenue in 2018-19.
District Clerk Kim Aarstad has been authorized to cancel any part of the election that is not required by law.
The school district has until April 27 to decide what will be on the mail-in ballot. Voting will end at 8 p.m. on May 7.
The designated place of deposit will be located at 226 E. Clinton St. in East Helena.
At this meeting, the board also awarded the soil remediation bid for the field adjacent to Prickly Pear Elementary School in the amount of $425,491, which will be funded with a $500,000 grant from the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. The contract will be awarded to Helena Sand and Gravel, which provided the lowest bid.
The awarded contract calls for remediation of all of the soil in that field, filling of a ditch cutting across the field and the removal any remaining stockpile of soil. The field will be used for various sports in the future.
The board also:
- Authorized Whitmoyer to advertise three teaching positions. These include an agriculture teacher, librarian and cheerleading coach. Whitmoyer said the district is still working out whether these positions will be part-time or full-time.
- Chose Strom and Associates of Helena to provide auditing services to the district for another three years.
- Opened negotiations with the East Helena Education Support Association to form a successor contract.