Florence Carlton School District the school is asking the public to pass a nearly $16 million bond at the general election, Nov. 6, to renovate and expand the school to meet the educational and safety needs of students.
FCSD administration, board members, building committee and staff started the process of examining the school’s needs a year and a half ago. They added public meetings to gather the opinions and thoughts of community members.
The decision at the assessment meetings was to ask the public for a bond.
“For the facility and student needs the number one concern is safety, of course,” said Bud Scully, superintendent. “We have infrastructure upgrades that we need. We have modulars that were supposed to be temporary that range from 45 to 25 years old and we want to get the kids all under one roof.”
Currently, students in kindergarten through second grade need to travel outside to access the nurse and music, physical education and art classes. The travel means less safety and reduced instructional time especially in the winter when students first need to bundle up in coats and snow boots.
Plumbing, electrical, ventilation and ADA accessibility compliance upgrades are also part of the bond proposal that addresses student safety, space, accessibility and building code concerns.
Scully said the assessment meetings had bigger plans but with the current construction price increase, they “scaled it back.”
The bond asks for $15,975,000 to add a K-5 grade building attached to the rest of the school, a cafeteria/multipurpose building with a real kitchen to replace the converted concession stand currently in use, band and choir rooms, a performing arts stage, high school locker rooms (so middle school and high school athletes aren’t dressing together), a health enhancement classroom, a metal shop building for career technology education and the facilities/maintenance departments, and renovations, handicap access, safety upgrades and improvements to exhausting buildings.
“It’s been 25-26 years since the last building project - 1992 was the last time,” Scully said. “We have no bond debt at all and our overall tax rate, our mill rate, for transportation and general fund, is going down for people. It is time.”
He said the community members who attended assessment meetings were in support of the process and asking for a bond.
“The people were pretty positive,” Scully said. “I’ve talked with our big tax payers in our district and they are supportive of the bond. We don’t have Lyon’s Club, VFW, or other clubs - they are in other valley towns. Our civic club is behind it and we’re going to hit the streets and do everything we can to get the information out.”
The details of the bond are available at the district office and will be at each public and athletic events like homecoming, open house and parent teacher conferences.
“We’ll hold a public meeting again, probably in October so people will have that information,” Scully said. “We want it fresh in their minds on why we need this. The number one reason is that our facilities don’t meet educational or safety needs of our students.”
He said it is not about growth but current teaching methods and the sizes of classrooms.
“We have one-to-one chrome books for grades 3-12 and we will be adding them to second grade. Currently they have iPads,” Scully said. “From kindergarten all the way through we are one-to-one with devices. You have to have the space for those and the right type of classroom environment to support their use. So, it is time.”
Scully said there is tax relief and tax calculator information available. He used the example of a $290,000 home, with a $3,915 taxable value, costing the homeowner $43.61 a month or a $1.43 per day.
This would be a 20-year bond.
Florence-Carlton School is located at 5602 Old Highway 93 and can be reached at 406-273-6751 ext. 100 or by emailing Scully at firstname.lastname@example.org. The school website has bond information including campus maps at www.florence.k12.mt.us/
Voting on the Florence-Carlton School bond will be Nov. 6, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., for school district residents.