SD2 board to examine trustee zone boundaries adjustments

2013-02-18T17:11:00Z 2013-02-19T07:19:04Z SD2 board to examine trustee zone boundaries adjustmentsBy ROB ROGERS rrogers@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

The zones represented by School District 2 trustees could be adjusted as the board looks at population shifts shown in the 2010 U.S. Census. 

Trustees will meet for their regular monthly meeting Tuesday night because of the Presidents Day holiday Monday. 

The board voted two years ago to look at possibly adjusting trustee zone boundaries once the Census results were available. Up for a vote Tuesday will be the option to review current boundaries and assign a committee to make adjustment recommendations to the full board. 

At the 2011 meeting, trustees were told that as a local school board they had the authority to make adjustments to zone boundaries. But they probably didn't have the authority to remove the zones altogether — an issue that's been raised over the years as more trustee elections go uncontested.  

The state statute that gave school districts the option to create trustee zones gives no provision for removing those zones. 

In 2003, voters approved a measure that created trustee-represented zones within the district to give areas traditionally under-represented on the board, such as the Heights and the South Side, more of a voice on the board.

For most of SD2’s history, all trustee seats were at-large, meaning if there were three open seats, the three top vote-getters were elected.

But that changed with the 2003 vote, dividing the elementary school district into seven zones, each with a representative on the board. Two additional trustees represent the high school district.

At Tuesday's meeting, trustees will also get an update on the master facilities plan. Over the past seven months, the board has been working on creating a comprehensive, districtwide plan to govern how the district uses its buildings. 

The plan — developed by Billings-based O2 Architects and national design firm DLR Group at a cost of $250,000 — calls for moving SD2's sixth-graders to middle school, constructing new middle schools to accommodate the expansion, possibly building a new elementary school and upgrading and expanding the majority of the district's existing elementary schools. 

In the coming years, the district will have to seek millions of dollars in bonds from the community to put the plan into action. 

This May, the district will pursue a mill levy with voters to help cover SD2's operational costs, an item also on Tuesday night's agenda. 

Finally, the board will vote on whether to appoint Heidi Graves as SD2's truancy center liaison. She is the wife of Trustee Lindy Graves. 

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