School trustees, city talk numbers, legislative goals

2012-11-01T17:32:00Z 2012-11-02T00:27:21Z School trustees, city talk numbers, legislative goalsBy ED KEMMICK ekemmick@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

At a joint meeting of the School District 2 Board of Trustees and Billings City Council on Thursday, most of the talk was about meetings to come.

SD2 Superintendent Terry Bouck promised a "very interesting" meeting when demographic consultants attend the school board meeting Monday at 5:30 to give five- and 10-year student population projections for the district.

Mayor Tom Hanel urged everyone to attend a noon meeting on Nov. 7 at the Billings Area Chamber of Commerce. He said the chamber, the city, SD2, Yellowstone County and other entities would talk about presenting a united front when the 2013 Montana Legislature convenes in January.

And City Councilman Ken Crouch made a similar pitch for a "community leadership" meeting scheduled for Nov. 9 at 11:30 at the MSU Billings Downtown campus at North Broadway and Third Avenue North.

That meeting will also focus on the legislative priorities of local governments, economic development agencies and educational institutions.

The meeting Thursday was a regular quarterly meeting between the city and the school district.

The demographic study is part of a planning process between the city and SD2 that is being funded by a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency. The process is intended to foster cooperation between the city and the district and also to advance the district's first-ever facilities master plan.

There was also talk about how the demographic data could be used as part of the legislative strategy for the district and the city.

There will be some state aid for school districts whose student populations rise because of the Bakken oil boom, attendees were told, so the district needs firm numbers to demonstrate that impact.

Trustee Connie Wardell said that in addition to working together on legislative priorities, each of the organizations in the partnership needs to have one person who fully understands the needs of the other organizations.

Without that kind of understanding, she said, one group's goals may unknowingly create a conflict with those of another. 

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