Public Meets on New School Sites - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Public Meets on New School Sites

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BILLINGS -

After a long process to adopt a Facilities Master Plan for School District Two, district officials are now looking at sites for its new middle schools.

"We looked at 19 factors in the process of siting a school," said SD2 Facilities Executive Director Lew Anderson. Of those 19 factors, six were adopted by the Board of Trustees.

"Number one, demographics. You put the school where the kids are now, and where they're going to be 10 years from now," said Anderson.

After a process to look at possible sites, a list of school site candidates are now ready.

"What the demographer told us, Doctor McKibben told us, that you need to site your school east of Main, and you also need to site one on the West End, somewhere within a mile radius of that 50th and Grand area," said Anderson. As a result, most of the school site candidates are centered around the aforementioned area.

On Wednesday evening, there was a meeting at Sandstone Elementary in the Heights over the plan. It's the first public meeting to hear public input on where the new middle schools will be located.

"It's just a huge problem in there, because we just don't have enough space," said Jennifer Jasper. Her kids are in Bitterroot Elementary. "Our school's actually so big, they have to be bussing one of our kindergarten classes to another school, because we don't have enough classrooms in our school anymore to hold all of the kids that are gonna be there."

Jasper is optimistic about the board's decision on middle school sites.

"I'm hoping they make good decisions. It's hard to think that far in advance, and it's important they make a good decision."

Some people at the meeting, however, were not as optimistic. A man criticized Sd2's stance on the Facilities Master Plan, as well as the middle schools.

"It doesn't matter what anyone says, you're decisions are made, you're gonna go to it, and you're gonna go to the public for 58 million bucks for those two schools. That was the impression I got," said a man at the meeting.

Another meeting will be held at Boulder Elementary Thursday evening. The Board of Trustees is expected to make a decision by July.

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