MISSOULA – Voters in several Western Montana communities are being asked to approve school bond requests on Election Day.
The unofficial results as of Wednesday morning showed all three school bond issues were passing although the Florence school bond request was very close with some votes still being tallied.
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Clinton School Bond
The Clinton School Board had asked voters to weigh in a $4 million bond and they did, approving the measure by a margin of 59%-to-41% as of Wednesday morning.
The money will go towards building four new classrooms, get rid of the old portables and build a new gym that doesn’t have to double as a lunchroom.
School officials say there haven’t been any major improvements to the school grounds in 44 years.
Florence School Bond
Florence school officials say that a nearly $16 million bond request would address a long list of needs and also bring more opportunities to students.
Voters had a mixed reaction to the proposal. As of Wednesday morning, there were 51% in favor and 49% against. The “yes” vote stood at 1,525 while the “no” vote was at 1,481.
An interesting dynamic is that with all of the Ravalli County votes tallied the “yes” side was up by just a handful of votes. However, the voters in the southern end of Lolo — whose children attend Florence schools — were responsible for widening the margin in the vote.
There are still some votes to be tallied in Missoula County, so the numbers could change.
The 11 structures on campus range in age of construction from 1959 to 1995. Superintendent Bud Scully told MTN News in September that a big concern is student safety as they currently have to go outside to get to class.
The improvements would also bring ventilation up to building code requirements and decrease maintenance and operation costs.
The bond would also go towards new K-5 classrooms and a dedicated dining and assembly space would serve the school and community.
St. Ignatius School Bond
The St. Ignatius School District is asking voters to pass a $5.6 million bond that will do several things.
The measure was passing by a 53%-to-47% margin as of Wednesday morning.
The most significant is the creation of a career and technical center for classes including welding, plumbing, culinary arts, early childhood education. The plan also calls for the building of a new gym with lockers rooms and bathrooms.
The bond request also includes some improvements to the elementary and middle school.
The last time a school bond issue passed for Saint Ignatius schools was in the early 1980’s. This is the third time they’re asking for this particular bond to be passed.