east helena district KTVH-TV

East Helena (Mont.) district will ask voters if they want a high school

New legislation gives some elementary districts in Montana the authority to add high school grades.

Voters in the East Helena (Mont.) district will decide in November whether their school system should expand to include high school grades.

The Helena Independent Record reports that the East Helena school board has scheduled a mail-in election for November on whether the community wants the district to build a high school.

“There’s no money involved here tonight," Superintendent Ron Whitmoyer said at a board meeting. "This is simply for planning purposes to evaluate the sincerity of the community to rally around this idea,” 
 
East Helena passed a $12 million bond in May to build a new school for first- and second-graders and add classrooms at East Valley Middle School. Whitmoyer says community members are happy to see those projects move forward, but
“they’re still saying, 'So when are you going to do something about the high school?'”

The Montana Legislature approved a bill earlier this year that clears the way for the East Helena school district to consider expansion. The legislation states that elementary school districts may consider expanding to a high school district if they have an enrollment of 1,000 and voters approve a bond.
 
East Helena, Lockwood and Hellgate are the only districts eligible.

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