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West Valley School District running out of room, bond fails

West Valley School
Posted at 3:56 PM, May 04, 2022

KALISPELL - West Valley School District voters turned back a $27.3 million bond request aimed at funding the construction of a new middle school and reconfiguring the current K-8 school.

Preliminary results show that 688 voters voted for the bond while 863 voted against it in the May 3 election. If approved, a home with a taxable value of $400,000 would have seen annual taxes increase by $772.

The small school district northwest of Kalispell is home to 813 students and has added more than 300 students in the last 10 years.

West Valley Superintendent Cal Ketchum said the current school building is not fit to hold the growing population with more than 1,500 new housing units planned in the district in the next three years.

“So, if you just do the simple math and let’s make it as simple as we can, that’s going to be at least 500 kids and that’s probably bare bones minimum so, to say that we’re a little bit behind the curve here with this bond not passing is an understatement, so it’s imperative that something gets done here hopefully sooner than later in the passage of a bond of some sort,” said Ketchum.

Ketchum said the school district will likely try another bond next spring.