Gallatin Co. school elections one week away, 4 levies on ballot


Breakdown of school elections in Gallatin County 4-30-13

BOZEMAN, Mont. - Bozeman Public Schools is asking voters to approve four levies in this year's election. Two would increase the general funds -- high school by $81,100 and elementary by $303,500. On a $200,000 home, it would mean an increase of $1.56 and $4.72, respectively.

Another would up the Elementary Technology Levy currently in place, by 3 mills per year. Right now, the fund's at $200,000. It's estimated the 3-mill levy would generate $382,000 in the first year, and cost taxpayers $4.12 annually.

The biggest levy is the Elementary Building Reserve Levy of $1.5 million over six years.

"It's used to maintain our facilities and grounds," explained Deputy Superintendent Steve Johnson. He said they use the funds for everything from roof repairs to painting.

A current $1 million levy expires this year, and a $220,000 levy expires next year. And since voters passed those levies, the district's built two more elementary schools. So Johnson said they're asking to replace those funds, with an added $280,000.

"That was one of the reasons that we increased the amount," Johnson said. "We have more square footage to take care of."

It would impact $200,000 households by $34.70 each year. But with the current levy expiring, Johnson said it would make a $11.12 annual impact.

Belgrade School District Superintendent Candy Lubansky said they're asking for two levies. "We'll go for an Elementary Mill Levy for about $544,000, and a High School Levy for about $96,000," Lubansky said. If both pass, taxes would increase by $40.98 and $7.06, respectively."

She said they'll use the money to fund staffing to keep up with increased enrollments and the new elementary.

"Cooks, playground aides, secretaries, custodians, all those kinds of positions," Lubansky said.

She said they also hope to help fund one or two School Resource Officer positions, and plan to partner with Belgrade PD.

As far as other districts in the area go, Manhattan Elementary and High Schools want $1.25 million over five years for future construction and building expansion. The impact -- $68.61 a year on a $200,000 home.

The Big Sky School District is asking permission to borrow over $10 million in bonds, to buy more land and expand their school. They're also asking to increase the General Fund of $50,000, or a $5.51 tax increase.

Many districts are also electing new trustees. Spring Hill and Willow Creek are the only two districts not running all mail-in ballots.

All ballots are due May 7.

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