A NO vote on this Bond is a YES vote for Kids, Schools, and the Community.
All Kids Matter
- $62 MILLION DOLLARS will be spent on creating five large, modern schools, three in the Valley and at Smith and Four Georgians plus upgrades to Central and a new district-wide phone system.
- $8 MILLION DOLLARS is left to be spent on ALL SEVEN remaining K-8 schools where more than half of our kids go to school.
- $8 MILLION DOLLARS is 30% of the District’s estimate of $27 MILLION DOLLARS for Deferred Maintenance (real school maintenance issues, some categorized by District as safety concerns) on these schools.
- $8 MILLION is the same amount allocated for Central alone. The bond language says the building will be safe but no mention of being used as a school.
- $8 MILLION is less than half (44%) of the $18 MILLION the new Jim Darcy will cost.
- 84% of the Bond proceeds go to only 35% of the kids in the elementary district.
- The District’s Bond Plan does not address the many difficult circumstances the kids at Bryant face.
- 50% of the total Bond Dollars will be spent on Jim Darcy, Warren and Rossiter yet only 26% of the K-5 kids reside in the attendance areas of these 3 schools.
- 2% of the total Bond Dollars will be spent on Bryant, Kessler, Hawthorn, Jefferson and Broadwater schools yet 21% of the K-5 kids reside in the attendance areas of these 5 schools.
- 74% of all kids in the Elementary District reside in the attendance area of a school located in the City of Helena.
- 8% of the total Bond Dollars will be spent on 49% of the total kids in the attendance areas of Hawthorne, Bryant, Jefferson, Kessler, Broadwater and the Middle Schools.
- 0% of the total Bond Dollars will be spent on the 32% of the total Helena Elementary District kids who attend the Middle Schools.
- We think there is a better way to give kids across our district the schools they need to excel! The Bond Plan is very weighty toward giving county kids super schools and city kids are left with much of the same and questions of “when is my school going to close?”
Middle School Kids Matter
- $0 – The overcrowded, unsafe, unhealthy and deteriorating middle schools (6th, 7th, 8th) will get nothing. Zero. Zip. The middle schools will likely school 1,600 of our kids each year for the next 7-10 years before any improvements will be made to them!
- This should be very concerning to anyone who has a child at the middle schools or who expects to send a child there within the next 7-10 years.
Neighborhood Schools Matter
- The District’s Bond Plan will vastly overbuild the district’s K-5 student enrollment capacity to more than 4,200 kids which is about 900 more kids than there are K-5 kids the elementary district now. The District’s own professionally done demographic study predicts K-5 enrollment to be 3,564 students in 2017 dropping to 3,477 students by 2022.
- The bond plan will put the lion’s share of the classrooms in modern big schools at Jim Darcy, Rossiter, Warren, Smith and Four Georgians.
- The Superintendent has publicly said that Bryant, Kessler, Central and Hawthorne will be closed and that Central will become the new Administration Building. He didn’t say when.
- No future Board will sit around with 900 more K-5 seats than there are K-5 kids in the District and watch the Operating Budget go further in the tank. Some schools will be closed and this will happen regardless of future bonds.
- Why should we vote for schools that our kids can’t walk to? Why should we fund schools that will force kids to take long bus rides every day when they are in neighborhoods where walking is safe, healthy and desirable for a growing number of families?
Fiscal Responsibility Matters
- The District may be telling you they want to keep all schools open but with this Bond Plan there won’t be enough operating money to support keeping all of these schools open.
- The District’s Bond Plan is the first step in a future phased “VISION” that will ask taxpayers to fork over more than a quarter of a BILLION dollars to complete.
- Going forward over the next 7 years, the plan is to build two new High Schools (cost: $80-$100 million), remake the old High Schools into Middle Schools ($50-$60 Million) and remodel the old Middle Schools into two large K-5 schools each ($12-15 million each or $48-$60 Million total). Hawthorn, Bryant, Central and Kessler would then be closed and moved into these new large K-5 schools. Counting the $70 Million for the present bond the total needed is somewhere between $250 MILLION AND $290 MILLION DOLLARS. That is a quarter of a billion dollars. Not likely to pass. Vote No to stop this first step in a fiscally unsound, irresponsible vision!
21st Century Education Matters
- Modern schools need to be equipped to implement new technology in more flexible classroom spaces with new and more versatile classroom furniture to foster and support 21st Century collaborative learning.
- 21st Century Learning is not dependent on larger 4-3 schools or brand new schools, all of our schools can be optimized, but this bond doesn’t do that.
- The District’s Bond Plan does not, for most K-8 kids, provide safe, healthy or appropriate learning environments needed to facilitate implementation of a 21st Century curriculum.
Community Support Matters
- The District’s Bond Plan is a Thinly Veiled Consolidation Plan. It’s the same consolidation plan in a different package. Click here to view the quoted history of consolidation and school closure plans for the Helena School District.
- It would be in everyone’s best interest to stop this process now and restart in a few months with independent professional guidance aimed at a truly collaborative community process to repair the community’s faith in the Board and Administration.
- We are parents and grandparents. We are used to tough conversations, addressing anxieties about the future. There’s a better way than this bond and we can figure it out!
Does this seem reasonable to you? Do you feel confident in the District? All Kids Matter, Vote No to this Facilities Bond!
Downloadables ~ Additional Information to Help You Decide
- Why Vote No: Door-to-Door Handout
- $70M Divided Unfairly
- Bond Spending Differs From Need
- Bond Funding Per Student
- Disparity Pie Chart
- Get Informed
- What the School District Says
- Helena Schools Superintendent Kent Kultgen to Hire Realtor for School Closures.
- Talking Out Loud About Consolidation: A Quoted History.
- Another Look at the Quoted History of Advocates for Consolidation.
- Tip of the Iceberg Radio Spot: Vote No Pam Attardo
- Tip of the Iceberg Radio Spot: Vote No Darryl James