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Hamilton school district holds town hall

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HAMILTON, Mont. - A town hall meeting by Hamilton school administrators attracted a sizable crowd Wednesday evening.

About 80 people showed up to hear what the district had to say about a proposed bond, a levy and a plan to consolidate campuses.

To offset a projected $700,000 shortfall in the next five years the district has proposed a $500,000 levy, an $8 million bond to upgrade Daly School and programs as well as construction of an athletic complex at the high school.

Hamilton school superintendent Tom Korst said the district is preparing for the projected shortfall because fewer children are moving to Hamilton schools.

The district proposes selling the old Westview Junior High School, Haynes Field and closing Washington School and putting it up for sale.

Washington students would be consolidated at Daly.

Proceeds would be used to upgrade Hamilton Middle School.

"It's just a good all around package to better our schools academically and athletically," said Hamilton parent Wendy Bauder.

Like everyone else Hamilton parent Tim Creek came to hear about the proposal, and wants to learn more.

He said some of the schools do need upgrades and teachers and professional staff need to have better compensation.

But he questions whether the district should sell its assets.

"We have an asset," he said, "and are we going to sell that asset for a short- term fix as opposed to keeping that asset for a long term gain?"

Superintendent Korst has said that recent demographic studies project a gradual loss of 1% to 2% for school aged children in Ravalli County.

The district will consider the proposed strategic plan in mid-March.

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