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Levy sought to help support new Kalispell elementary school

Posted at 8:48 AM, May 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-02 10:48:15-04

KALISPELL – With a new elementary school currently under construction and a budget reduction of more than $350,000 due to statewide budget cuts, Kalispell Public Schools district is seeking a levy for $1 million for its operation.

The last time Kalispell Public Schools ran a levy and it was approved was six years ago in  2012. 

According to US Census data, Flathead County’s population grew by 2.4% from 2016 to 2017. That growth helped the district successfully pass an elementary and high school bond in 2016 to build a new elementary school and update existing ones.

Construction on Rankin Elementary was fast-tracked due to overcrowding in the other five elementary schools and this Fall it will welcome more than 350 kids.

But with significant reductions in state funding and the continued growth of local schools, Superintendent of Kalispell Public Schools Mark Flatau says the general fund levy is needed to bridge a funding gap.

He says if passed, the levy will provide support in opening the new Rankin Elementary School.

"The minute we open Rankin Elementary and take possession of it, it becomes an operational cost of the district and we are simply working to maintain appropriate levels of support for our classrooms, our schools and the students that we serve," said Flatau.

The levy would cost about $2.06 a month — or about $25 a year — on a home valued at $100,000.

All registered voters have until May 7th to take advantage of early voting at the school district offices from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. The final polling opportunity is on May 8th . All voters may cast their ballot at the Flathead County Fairground’s Country Kitchen.

RELATED: Mail-in ballot request denied in Kalispell’s $1M elementary school levy

RELATED: A look inside Kalispell’s new elementary school as construction continues