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Parents eying new boundaries for elementary schools in Billings

Posted at 5:46 PM, Dec 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-14 19:46:23-05

Parents in Billings are watching closely as boundaries for elementary schools could change within the next few months.

In November, the school district informed the public of a proposed redistricting plan through an email. While the most notable changes might be seen in the high schools, there are also boundaries being reworked for Billings elementary schools.

For years, the Forest Park neighborhood has sent their kids to Poly Drive, conveniently just a few blocks away. Starting in the fall of 2023, that could change, as the proposed district changes would send kids to Rose Park instead.


It's just one of the many examples that will affect Billings parents across town, including Tad Stichman.

“The original reason that this house was purchased was so that the kids could walk to school,” said Stichman, who lives in the Forest Park neighborhood.

Stichman actually had two children graduate Poly Drive in the past, but his soon-to-be five-year-old will attend a different school next year as the Stichmans don't have any children currently at Poly Drive.

“There’s neighborhoods being built where there aren’t any schools," Stichman said. "So those kids are going to have to be transported. Whereas you’re in a neighborhood and you’re across the street from a school and now you’re going to have to move.”

Billings schools Superintendent Greg Upham is adamant that boundary changes are needed because schools all over Billings are beyond capacity.

"We want to adjust boundaries where we could take students and place them where there’s a little bit more room,” Upham said.

Upham also said the ultimate goal is to keep students together — from kindergarten all the way through high school.

“We want as pure a cohort as we can," Upham said. "We don’t want to take half of Poly and send them to Lewis and Clark and send the other half to Will James."

The good news for parents is that the new boundaries are not set in stone. These maps were released early intentionally by the school district so that parents could give their input — something Stichman is looking to do.

“Hopefully they’re willing to hear the voice of the parents and the community, and how this will affect us going forward," Upham said.

The Billings School Board is scheduled to vote on the new boundaries in February.