Billings School District 2 makes final levy pitch as mail ballot - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Billings School District 2 makes final levy pitch as mail ballots arrive to voters

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SD2 Superintendent Terry Bouck (MTN News Photo) SD2 Superintendent Terry Bouck (MTN News Photo)

The last time a Billings high school levy was passed by voters was 2007.

The upcoming May 2 election will ask taxpayers for $1.2 million dollars for the high school level and a $1.36 million for grades K-8. 

Funds will provide a levy of what the district says are necessary upgrades throughout School District 2 schools.

Aging textbooks as old as 13 years will be replaced throughout the district's schools.

Online support for enrichment and mediation for individualized needs of students would be added.

The Career Center, which can only offer classes to juniors and seniors, would be able to provide opportunities to freshmen and sophomores for vocational education.

The levy will also expand dual credit and Advanced Placement credit offerings that allow students to take college-level classes and earn college credits at no cost to families.

If approved, the levy will bolster mental health resources to thousands of students in need, adding counselors and social workers.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs would also see support in every K-8 school.

The estimated tax impact on a $200,000 home, if both are approved, would be $30.08 per year.

Due to the state's funding model, Billings' size and number of students does not help provide adequate funding.

"Our state funding of public schools definitely hurts Billings Public Schools being large," Superintendent Terry Bouck said.

"We lose in the neighborhood of $6 million dollars a year because of our size and reduction of funding, so we take that into consideration. We're not complaining. We just make sure every penny is put to our kids," said Bouck.

The legislature continues to shift the burden of educational funding to taxpayers leave School District 2 hurting "even more because the district is incrementally reduced in student funding when we reach a certain number of kids," Bouck said.

Bouck said he is feeling confident that taxpayers will see the need in the district and help students with a "yes" vote.

"The levies are so important," he said.

"We're going to continue to take care of those kids who are gifted and talented, those kids in the middle, and those kids who are struggling. I'm hoping people read all of the information we put out there. If they have any questions, they can contact me," said Bouck.

For more information provided by the district on its website click here. 

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