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Bozeman considering elementary school closure to address budget shortfall

Bozeman School
Posted at 12:31 PM, Dec 20, 2022

BOZEMAN - The Bozeman School District is looking at many ways to make up for a $4.1 million budget shortfall in the K-12 general fund.

It's a shortfall Superintendent Casey Bertram blames on several things, including opening Gallatin High School and lower-than-expected enrollment.

There are ten recommendations, including closing down one of the four smaller elementary schools: Hawthorne, Longfellow, Whittier, or Irving.

For Doreen McMahon, a potential closure like this one hits close to home.

"My son actually went to Irving and then transferred to Morning Star," says McMahon, "I have friends who have kids that went to Longfellow and they're just great neighborhood schools."

Bertram says the district would save approximately $300,000 by closing an elementary school.

They would also redraw school boundaries.

Bertram says he understands that closing an elementary school would have significant impacts to families and students in the impacted school, but also extended impacts across the K-5 schools as redrawing of elementary boundaries would need to occur.

Residents like McMahon think a school closure would only be a temporary fix.

"The way that Bozeman is booming, I can't imagine that they're not going to need to reopen in a few years," says McMahon.

Other potential solutions include an increase in extracurricular participation fees, reducing central office administration, eliminating Bozeman Charter School, and other staffing cuts for a total savings of $4.1 million.

No decisions have been made on the recommendations, but trustees will discuss the proposed cuts during the Jan. 9 school board meeting.

For more information on the proposals, you can read the full BSD7 Budget Reduction Recommendations.

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