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After a bill is passed by the legislature, Billings schools may take the high school district into consideration



Billings, Montana – A high school for pupils at Elder Grove, Elysian, Blue Creek, and Canyon Creek has been considered by a group in Billings.

House Bill 707, which would allow those boards to remain separate for grades kindergarten through eight, but collaborate on a high school system, was approved by the Montana Legislature.

It’s a significant development for proponents of a new high school.

The law would allow the four school districts to keep distinct districts for elementary and middle schools and form a high school board if they have at least 1000 pupils, provided it were to be approved by the governor.

“This is amazing,” said Susie Layton, Southwest Billings Smart Growth co-chair “It’s still a steep climb, but it makes it one step closer.”

In the beginning of the year, Layton’s team surveyed parents.

The survey revealed support for a new high school and major reservations about district consolidation.

She claims that the current strategy is to establish a steering committee, and calculate the rate of district growth, as well as construction capacity and other data to potentially assist voters in making a decision.

“The demographic study is a next positive step that would give us information that we need to decide whether we want to put this on the ballot,” Layton said.

According to Layton, the group’s responsibility is to notify the parents in the school boards.

“We respect what the school boards are going through, what their concerns are for their own individual districts,” she said. “And those are important and we don’t want to bypass the things that they’re already doing in their districts.”


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