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Canyon Creek School District reinstates sporting activities and seeks a new superintendent



Montana – Just one week before classes begin, Canyon Creek School’s pupils will experience two significant changes: a new principal and the return of athletics and field excursions.

Superintendent Brent Lipp resigned from his position on Monday, citing another opportunity.

“I hate to see him go but change is always difficult,” said Carl Siroky, Canyon Creek school board chair. “But at the end, change is good too.”

Siroky claims that Friday is Lipp’s last day.

Lipp was contacted by Q2 on his resignation, but he has not responded.

Canyon Creek is continuing with its goal to reinstate extracurricular programs that were previously removed from the budget notwithstanding Lipp’s absence. The relocation was made possible in large part by a donation to the Valley Credit Union in Billings.

Tuesday afternoon, Lipp and Siroky met with the managers of the credit union to formalize the donation in time for the coming academic year.

“This is a one-off for us,” said Brandon Scala, Valley Credit Union senior vice-president of business development. “I think this is one of the biggest things we’ve ever done.”

More than 20 years have passed since Canyon Creek last approved a mill levy.

District administrators had to make the painful choice to discontinue all extracurricular programs, including field trips and athletics after the previous mill levy failed last autumn.

Scala received the information from an outside source, and he discussed it with his marketing staff.

“We liked the fact that it teaches them life skills right through athletics,” Scala said. “Win, lose, teamwork, through student council, government. How do things work, processes. Field trips are I think probably one of the most important things for kids to go and experience at that age.”

Even though neither Scala nor anyone else at the credit union has children in the district, Valley is providing more than $22,000.

“I’m very excited that we were able to get something together,” said Maranda Yeager, a parent whose children attend Canyon Creek. “Somebody saw an opportunity and helped those kids because they need it. They deserve it.”

Yeager made the decision to move her daughter to Elder Grove as soon as she learned about the budget cuts.

Many more also moved, but some are already second-guessing their decision.

“We did apply for out-of-district and were accepted,” said Bobbie Swanson, another parent with children at Canyon Creek. “But we love our community and we love our school. And if we can provide our kids with everything that they need, then we have no reason to leave.”

Many continue to have financial and budgetary worries, claiming that prior to the contribution, another cut could have been made.

The district has seen significant change, yet certain aspects have remained the same as a result of an unexpected gift received just when it was most needed.

“It’s very humbling and very blessed to be able to help them with that,” said Scala.


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