Proposed Ennis school expansion impacts Big Sky residents

Joint school board meeting to be held on Jan. 5 to discuss project

In light of a proposed $59 million-dollar expansion to the Ennis school system in Madison County, both the Ennis and Big Sky school boards are meeting this week for a special session to discuss the proposal on Wednesday, Jan. 5. The meeting will take place in Ennis at 5:30 p.m. but will also be available online through Zoom.

The Ennis Schools proposal, which can be viewed online at Ennis Schools website, is a K-12 expansion project designed to meet student enrollment increases and upgrade the high school. The hope, rather than looking for quick fixes, is to find long term solutions to issues like housing for teachers, staying ahead of projected growth, accessibility, and keeping all K-12 students on one site.

With a substantial portion of Madison County taxes coming from high valued properties located within Big Sky, Big Sky residents have expressed frustration with the unique situation because most families send their kids to Big Sky schools. In other words, folks are frustrated because a large majority of the taxes that would pay for the project are going to a nearby school district that they do not participate in.

Part of the problem is Big Sky is split between Madison and Gallatin Counties. Big Sky Resort, the Yellowstone Club, and Moonlight Basin sit in or on the Madison County line, whereas the Meadow, Spanish Peaks, Montage Hotel, and the Canyon are on the line or a part of Gallatin County.


Moving forward, a joint school board meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 5, in person and virtually. Ennis superintendent, Casey Klasna, and Big Sky superintendent, Dustin Shipman, will be attending. The Zoom link is available here: j/85743486423?pwd=OThLVW0zdHFJMGZoTTIvMHVlNzFoZz09

Ballots will be mailed out on Jan. 19 to registered Madison County voters. There will be an all-mail ballot election on Feb. 8 to determine the school expansion project. Ballots can be mailed or dropped off at the Clerk and Recorder’s Office in Virginia City, but they must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day to be counted. 

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