East Helena voters fund new high school

Posted at 11:23 PM, May 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-05 15:02:40-04

HELENA – East Helena voters passed a $29.5 million bond Tuesday that will pay for a new high school and expand the district.

The vote passed by a wide margin, with more than 60 percent of people voting in favor.

The vote comes following a law passed by the 2017 Montana Legislature that paved the way for three Montana elementary school districts to pursue expansion to a high school district.

The $29.5 million from the bond will pay for the district to acquire land and design and build the school.

It will also pay for a wide variety of “furnishings, fixtures and equipment,” ranging from desks and textbooks to technical-education machinery and sports uniforms.

The bond does not pay for operating costs of the new school. The district will have to go back to voters in the future to ask for money to operate the school. However, that levy would replace the levy East Helena residents pay for Helena high schools – and from state per-student funding.

The bond will increase property taxes $34.21 per month on a home valued at $200,000.

The district wants to build the high school on Dartman Field, just off Valley Drive north of the Lewis and Clark County Search and Rescue building.

Work on the site for the new school could start as early as Fall of 2018. It could be operational for the 2020 school year.

This story will be updated.

-Jonathon Ambarian contributed to this report