Frequently Asked Questions
Last Updated: March 16, 2019
What do Stevensville School District facilities include?
The Stevensville School District facilities include three schools on one campus: Stevensville Primary School (Kindergarten to 3rd grade, or K-3), Stevensville Middle School (grades 4-8), and Stevensville High School (grades 9-12).
How does the Stevensville School District relate to the Lone Rock School District?
The Lone Rock School District is an independent Elementary district located within the northern part of the Stevensville High School District—it is a “district within a district” (see map). The Lone Rock School includes elementary and middle school grades (K-8). After 8th grade, Lone Rock students attend Stevensville High School. Therefore, the Stevensville High School District includes the Lone Rock District, but the Lone Rock School operates (and is funded) independently for students in grades K-8.
How do the overlapping districts affect school funding?
When the Stevensville School District places a funding request (such as a bond) on the ballot, residents within the Lone Rock District do not vote or pay for any costs for K-8 facilities in Stevensville. Voters in both the Lone Rock District and the Stevensville District pay for costs related to Stevensville High School facilities.
Is the population in the Stevensville School District growing?
Yes! The number of people living in the Stevensville District (including Lone Rock area) has grown by 2,444 people (+29%) since the year 2000. Of that growth, about 1,400 people moved into the Stevensville Elementary District, and 1,046 into the Lone Rock District. Lone Rock District population grew at nearly twice the rate of Stevensville District (43% vs. 24%). Over the next five years (2019-2023), the overall population is projected to grow by an additional 723 people (7%), with Lone Rock District growing slightly faster.
What does this mean for school enrollment?
While the overall population will grow by 7%, the number of people age 65+ is growing at a faster rate than those under age 65, consistent with state and national trends. The number of school-age children will grow by about 5%.
From 2013 to 2018, Stevensville enrollment in grades K-8 increased by 50 students, or +9% (see graph at right). The population within the Stevensville District is projected to increase by 74 students in the next five years (by 2023), and the population in the Lone Rock District is projected to increase by 35 students, for a projected total growth of an additional 100 students.
How are schools funded?
School District funding in Montana comes from several sources: State funds appropriated by the Legislature, local property taxes collected by the County, federal funds designated for specific programs (Title I to improve education for disadvantaged students, Title II for teacher professional development), and grants.
The State of Montana does not provide enough funding to pay for backlogged maintenance, major remodeling, or new construction—and state funding has not kept pace with increasing costs. While some maintenance can be covered within existing budgets, funding for major facility needs must be covered by local taxpayers through bond levies.
What is the situation with Stevensville School facilities?
Stevensville’s most recent facility projects were the new Middle School and Music/Multipurpose buildings in 2010-11. Those facilities are in great shape. However, the Primary and High School buildings are aging facilities that need to be updated.
Why haven’t the schools maintained the existing buildings?
The Stevensville School District has allocated significant funding to the repair and upkeep of our facilities. A review of records show that the district has spent over $400,000 in recent years for major repairs and maintenance. This maintenance has included the replacement of major portions of the high school roof, new boilers for heating the K-3 school, replacement of the water heater for the K-8 gym, new soffits and fascia for the agriculture and industrial trades buildings, soffits, fascia, and paint for the high school gym, new high efficiency lighting for the high school gym, retrofitting of restrooms, doors, and openers to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, demolition of the condemned grandstands, testing, removal of asbestos, and cleanup the ALC drive house, removal of the abandoned wooden barn at the softball field, and numerous other smaller projects.
Houses in Stevensville do not cost $100,000 why do you use that figure?
Montana Code Annotated also requires that school districts utilize the $100,000 and $200,000 amount in levy language (MCA 15-10-425). The District has consistently used this figure in compliance. This consistent use allows levy costs to be compared over the years. As we seek to inform the public, we just use the $100,000 amount as it is easy to figure out the $200,000 amount and use these to calculate taxes on homes with higher value by simply multiplication.
When will the existing bond for Stevensville Middle School be paid off?
The existing bond of $8,880,000 is a fifteen year bond for only in the Stevensville Elementary District. There is not an existing bond in the Stevensville High School District.
The existing bond passed in 2010 was for the Elementary District to fund construction of the Middle School and Music/MPR/Lunch facility. This bond will mature (paid in full) in the year 2026. The high school bond from 2010 did not pass and a grant was used to pay for the high school portion of the MPR/Music/Lunch facility.
Why don’t we build a new high school and move the K-3 or middle school students into the high school?
The architects and engineers assessed the existing buildings, concluding they have “good bones”—they are structurally sound. Completion of the high school remodel will make it feel “like new,” and the life expectancy of a renovated high school will be the same as new construction.
In 1992, a 52-acre piece of property was acquired by the District for a possible future new high school; however, the estimated cost for a new high school is $35-$40+ million, plus the cost to demolish or remodel and repurpose the existing high school—a large bite for District voters. Moreover, due to the size of the total taxable value of the District, the Stevensville High School District does not have the bonding authority to borrow enough for a new high school under State of Montana school bond debt law. A portion of the property has been developed into baseball/softball and soccer fields by volunteers of the youth soccer and little league baseball/softball associations.
Would HS be required to have west facing emergency exit?
This is a construction code issue. It is highly likely that an alarmed emergency exit would be required on the West side of the building. We will rely on the architect to design a certified plan and construction plans must go through an approval process insure that the design meets fire code.
Why don’t we make kids ride the bus?
This question relates directly to our parking lot designs. While we do provide bus services, students are not required to ride school provided transportation. In addition, parking is not just for students. Please remember that parents frequently drive students to school. Also, many school and community events take place at the schools. These events often host large numbers of patrons and out-of-town attendees that require parking spaces. We are working to reduce parking congestion on streets near the school while providing parking space for our events. We want to be a good neighbor to those that live near the school as well as the entire community.
Why didn’t we fix the gym roof when we voted for it last time? (2009)
The HS gym roof was part of the High School bond which failed, not part of the Middle School bond that passed.