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Belgrade Schools asking voters to approve $60.5 million bond for new elementary school and renovations

Officials say the bond is needed to get ready for a growing student population.
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Posted at 5:42 PM, Mar 06, 2024

BELGRADE — On May 7, voters in Bozeman will be asked to pass $680,000 in operating levies for the district—a drop in the bucket compared to the $60.5 million bond that the Belgrade School District is asking voters to consider.

"We need to be prepared for the students who are coming," says Belgrade Schools Superintendent Dede Frothingham.

The Belgrade School District is asking voters to approve the $60.5 million bond to build another elementary school and renovate Belgrade Middle School.

Frothingham says this is needed due to the growing population and the fact that the majority of the community wants 5th graders back at the elementary level instead of middle school.

"We did a survey and 70% of our survey respondents said they would prefer that fifth grade be back in the elementary school," says Frothingham. "If we become a community in Belgrade of 30,000 people, we're not going to be able to survive with three elementaries. It's just not enough."

The new elementary school would be located on the property off of Frank Road just south of Belgrade. The school district has $20 million left over from the $48 million bond approved by voters in 2019 that was used to build Story Creek Elementary School.

"We're asking for $60.5 million which we add to the $20 million that's just sitting out there," says Frothingham. "Taxpayers aren't paying anything on that, and that is enough money to complete the entire project. This bond, in the first year of the bond, would add on $5.60 per $100,000 of your assessed value."

MTN drove around Belgrade and asked people what they thought of the $60.5 million bond proposal. The general consensus is that there needs to be another elementary school, but people don’t want their taxes to go up.

The district is hosting several events for people to come and share questions and thoughts on the matter starting on April 6 at Belgrade High School.