By Michael Mattson | Watchdog Wire – Montana
On November 5, Billings voters will decide the fate of School District 2′s expansion plan. That decision comes down to whether residents are willing to foot the bill for a $122 million levy.
The levy includes tens of millions for deferred maintenance throughout the school district. District 2 currently logs one hundred twenty millions dollars worth of deferred maintenance costs. With fifty-eight million going to the construction of two new middle schools, the levy would leave an outstanding balance in deferred maintenance to the tune of another sixty million dollars.
As the Billings Gazette reported, two members of the school board voted against the levy.
45 minutes of discussion on SD2′s need for new schools and more space, whether the district can afford to staff and maintain new schools and whether the community will support a $122 million bond.
“I don’t think we’ve proven our ability to fund and staff two middle schools,” said Trustee Kathy Aragon.
Trustee Kevin Toohill said the board and the district have to earn back the trust of the community. Successfully running a bond and then doing what the district has promised it will do will be a big part of earning that trust, he said.