The Corvallis School Board members are visiting with local community groups to start discuss the proposed levy Corvallis voters will decide on Nov. 7.
They also have scheduled several open meetings and facility tours to provide voters with information.
The $1,725,000 levy would allow the school to purchase 21.23 acres with buildings that currently belong to the Ravalli Electric Cooperative and are adjacent to the middle school. The school has been renting six of the acres for the past 30 years.
The levy would cost $345,000 per year for five years, which is when it would be fully paid off, ending the tax obligation.
Board member Tonia Bloom said the purchase would give the school immediate usable office space, storage, parking for buses, event parking and potential instructional space.
Even though the school board does not have immediate plans for building, the property provides room for growth. Bloom said that allowing the school to purchase the property would ensure the school would have a neighborhood that is a positive environment for school children.
The purchase would include 25,000-square-feet of buildings - including the 7,200-square-foot REC Building - and the valuable land. In comparison, the 7,000-square-foot Industrial Arts Building at the high school cost $1 million to build.
Three informational meeting are set for:
Sept. 21 - 8 to 10 a.m. at Memories Café;
Sept. 27 - a walking tour of the REC beginning at 6 p.m., followed by a meeting 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the CHS Library;
Oct. 24 - 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the new Fins Tap House, 352 Woodside Cutoff Road.
Bloom said board members also would be happy to attend meetings or events to provide details of the levy. Corvallis Superintendent Tim Johnson added that they want to answer all of the community's questions.
“This district belongs to its residents and it's our responsibility to plan together for today's needs and for the facility needs of our future students,” Johnson said.
Each school office has voter registration information and cards. The school website has a calculator for figuring the taxes on home, land or business at http://www.corvallis.k12.mt.us. Follow the link under the CSD Facilities icon.
For a home with a taxable market value of $100,000, taxes would increases by about $35.
Johnson said the opportunity is unique because of the location of the property.
Bloom added that the vote on the levy is critical.
“I think this is the most consequential decision that the Corvallis community has ever been asked to make about the school district,” she said. “It is possibly our only chance to purchase significant property that is adjacent to existing school property. Plus, then we won’t lose the six acres that we have used for 30 years. That would be a real loss.”