POLSON — Voters in Polson said “no” to a pair of school bonds just over two years ago.
The requests were made so that buildings that were built around 50 years ago could be renovated. Now, the elementary and high school bonds are back on the table for all the same reasons.
The Polson School District is seeking a $17.7 million high school bond as well as a $32 million elementary schools bond, making the grand total of the bond requests $49 million. The requests come in light of safety concerns for students in their current buildings.
“We are trying to put ourselves in a position to have a strong school,” said Polson High School Principal Any Fors. “We currently have that in place. We just don't have the facility that supports it.”
There are currently “modular” classrooms at three local schools, meaning kids walk from the hallways inside to classrooms, outside. School officials want to get rid of these for safety reasons.
Linderman Elementary School Principal Kristen Wilson notes education is changing and the current building just doesn’t reflect that.
“Today we change children around just based on their need. So, we have small reading groups or small math groups and oftentimes you'll find those groups working in the hall or in some tiny closet area. This would allow us to have some smaller spaces that are not huge classrooms, but our smaller rooms so that we can teach in small groups.” - Linderman Elementary School Principal Kristen Wilson
The bond requests will help renovate and expand the schools, as well as help change the curriculum model.
“If this bond passes, we'll be able to move the fifth grade down to Linderman and then move the second grade down to Cherry Valley so we will have a pre-K to school, a 3-4-5 school, and then a 6-7-8 school,” explained Polson Schools Superintendent Mike Cutler.
The district has tried to pass big bonds like this before, but Culter says that with some of the buildings being nearly 70 years old it is time for updates to be made.
Safety, adequate space, and advanced education are the goals of the bond proposal by the district with school officials noting the bonds will also help in the future as Polson continues to grow.
Ballots for the bond election will be mailed out to voters on April 13 and due back May 3 in Polson. Residents can visit https://www.polson.k12.mt.us/bond to learn more about the proposal and how taxes would be impacted.