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Polson voters to decide on school infrastructure bond

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POLSON – Voters living in the Polson School District will have two school improvement bond initiatives to consider in a mail-in election scheduled for Dec. 3.

Starting on Nov. 13 election ballots will be mailed to registered school district voters. The elementary school bond would be for $30,431,000 and the high school bond for $30,693,000.

The bond request is designed to provide funds to ensure the district’s current aging buildings stay safe and functional and provide 21st century academic and community opportunities.

Polson School District Superintendent Rex Weltz explained that the aging district buildings were constructed years ago. Linderman was built in 1948, Cherry Valley constructed in 1963, Polson High School was constructed in 1972 and the Polson Middle School was constructed in 1991, and they all have infrastructure, roof, heating, ventilation and air conditioning issues that need to be addressed. The problems contribute to energy inefficiencies that make the buildings increasingly more expensive to maintain and operate as well as creating an uncomfortable learning environment for both the students and teachers. 

The proposed bond measures will also address additional safety needs and requirements throughout the district. “Our children and buildings are safe,” emphasized superintendent Weltz. “Simply, they are in need of safety improvements. The buildings are 20th century and are not adequate for today’s learning needs.”

If approved, the $61,124,000 bonds would be used for infrastructure projects such as new or upgraded heating and cooling systems throughout the elementary district. Air quality will also be addressed throughout the district buildings. Student safety issues will be addressed with updated drop-off and pick-up areas, and visitor entry points would be updated with security cameras, alarms, bells and emergency notification systems. 

New classrooms at both Linderman and Cherry Valley elementary schools would be included in the plans. At the high school, a new science, technology, engineering, art and math center would be added, as well as culinary arts and vocational education spaces. A community center will be constructed on the high school campus with seating for about 3,500 people. The new space will allow for community events such as concerts and art fairs. The center would include additional gym space and an indoor walking track.

If voters approve both proposed measures, district property owners would see an approximated increase in tax of $309.84 annually to a home assessed at $200,000 for the 25-year length of the bond. According to the district information, the figure breaks down to less than $26 a month on average. District officials also ask residents who have any questions or require further information to reach out by emailing bondinfo@polson.k12.mt.us or to call 406-883-6355.

 

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