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Stillwater County commissioners may request Park City Schools receive mine money

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Posted at 10:15 PM, Mar 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-16 00:15:37-04

Stillwater County commissioners want to get more information before considering an amendment to a mine impact agreement that would bring money to Park City schools.
That agreement currently distributes money to schools that miners’ children attend in Absarokee and Columbus.

But Park City also has students whose parents work at the Stillwater Mine in Nye.

Park City schools wants to get some money from the mine impact agreement.

Park City has never been a part of that and now it may be possible to get some help from Stillwater County commissioners.

Stacey Wells’ husband works at the Stillwater mine, which is owned by Sibanye Stillwater Mining Co.

"It's very disheartening as the wife of somebody who has been an employee there for almost 20 years,” Wells said. “Our school isn't receiving the money that they should."

The Wells children are just some of the reported 30 Park City students of mine families who say their school deserves its share.

“Mine guys that live in Columbus and their kids go to Columbus, and those kids are getting the benefits of it,” said Dayle Stahl, Park City PTA president. “Whereas, the kids that go to Park City, they're not seeing anything.”

Absarokee, Columbus, Fishtail and Nye were included in the original mine impact agreement in 1985 and when it was amended in 1998.

The money is crucial, according to Park City schools.

"It's based upon mine revenues and the tax that they pay,” said Kevin Hoffman, Park City school board chair. “But the last year that we had data, it could be $150,000 to $200,000 for our district."

The law and the agreement allow commissioners and Sibanye Stillwater to ask for an amendment.

Last month, commissioners were reluctant to make that request to the Montana Hardrock Mining Board. That's changed, but they want to make sure they have the right information.

"We've heard from the folks in Park City loud and clear,” said Stillwater County Commissioner Tyrel Hamilton. “And we're going to do a deep dive into this and we are going to come back and we're going to hopefully bring resolution to this whatever that resolution may be."

Before they make the request, they want to make sure they know how many miners' children attend each school in the county.

Commissioners say the mine says Park City only has three eligible students.

"Our commitment to Park City is we are going to do our due diligence where you're going to get a third party in here we are going to get all the information out there," said Hamilton.

Hamilton plans on monthly updates about the progress.

He will meet with Park City board chair and superintendent along with representatives from Rapelje, Reed Point and the schools already receiving mine money.
Hamilton has heard the 1998 amendment took about 18 months, but Park City families are a bit more optimistic than they were last month.

"Hopefully we're back on track and we'll start to have some progress," Hoffman said.