School opening decision set for August 6

Board set to discuss all questions

At the emergency Big Sky School District #72 board meeting on July 30 there were no final decisions about fall, but one thing was made clear: The board would like school to be in person. “The community would like us to be back in person, and we would like to be back in person to some capacity,” said Board Chairman Loren Bough. However, the board also recognized that with in person instruction comes many questions and concerns that they are preparing to answer by their next board meeting on Thursday, Aug. 6.

If parents or any other community members have questions about the upcoming school year, they should attend the meeting on the 6th at 5 p.m. in the elementary school gym. This meeting will provide the 2020-2021 school year plan, answer frequently asked questions and provide suggestions to students and parents to make the school year easier.

The school will do what it can in order to maximize the safety of everybody, but students of all ages will need to be prepared to be flexible, said Superintendent Dustin Shipman. “It’s not September 2019, it’s September 2020,” he said. Board vice chair Whitney Littman agreed and said this is especially significant regarding elementary students. “Kids aren’t behaving right now like we are going to ask them to behave in school.”

Even with confusion and uncertainty still on the table, the board did have positive news to the public. The board unanimously passed the refinancing of a 2013 bond which, according to Corky Miller, the BSSD#72 financial clerk said “will probably save the taxpayers a couple hundred thousand dollars over the next eight years.” The bond was for the elementary school along with upgrades for the high school building.

The board also discussed increased enrollment projections between five and twenty percent. Currently the school has 405 students enrolled while a total of 472 students have shown interest in the district. Last fall the enrollment was 375 students. The numbers are concerning when it comes to COVID, “If 472 kids turn up, how does it impact our five possible scenarios?” said Bough. This question will again be answered along with several others Aug. 6.

The board meeting on Aug.6 will allow in person attendance as well as Zoom. For more information, see the district website, www.bssd72.org.

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