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LaMotte School principal, superintendent shares concerns over budget cuts following elections

Posted at 4:55 PM, May 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-03 18:57:38-04

Following Tuesday night's special election, voters in some school districts voted against passing levies to help pay for general funds, like at LaMotte School, where they're getting ready to build a new addition to their school.

Now they're having to worry about how they're going to pay for the general upkeep of the school.

“Well, we can't turn the lights off. We can't, you know, cancel snow plowing,” said Superintendent and Principal Lee Ann Burke.

The original school, east of Bozeman, opened in 1900. It’s named after Major Robert LaMotte, who was sent to the area to establish a military post – Fort Ellis.

Student drawings of LaMotte hang in the school lobby, along with renderings of the school’s upcoming $1.8-million expansion which voters approved last year.

“I've been there, 18 years, and it's never failed when we have asked our voters,” said Burke.

Burke says Tuesday night's election results came as a surprise.

“Our economy right now, that's very difficult. We asked a year and a half ago for a $1.8 million bond,” said Burke.

Burke is now trying to figure out how to find $25,000 dollars to keep the school running.

“So, its tough decisions, you know, but we always have to keep in mind that the students,” said Burke.

She says the big question they have to juggle with is: How do you cut back on personnel and not affect the proficiency of our students?

She says finding the answer to fit the needs of her staff, students, and parents is the hard part.

“It really comes down to people and programs. What can you possibly double up or do without?” said Burke.

Burke says they don’t plan to ask for more money soon, so their next step is coming up with a balanced budget.