CS Masthead

Out With The Old

IMG 5542Culbertson High School teacher Mary Machart (right) gives a vintage Cowboys’ basketball jersey to Pam Zieman after school trustees voted to dispose of antiquated uniforms Monday, March 24. The uniforms are from various sports. Some are from recent years and others date to the early 2000s. Anyone wanting a vintage CHS uniform should contact the school.

Culbertson Trustees To Mull Tax Levy At Special Meeting

Culbertson School trustees scheduled a special meeting to consider a possible tax levy during their monthly meeting Monday, March 24.
The special school board meeting will follow parent/teacher conferences Thursday, April 10, at 7 p.m.
“We have to decide on a levy. We are eligible to levy taxes this year,” board chairman Paul Finnicum said.
While the district is eligible to impose a levy, the trustees might not approve one because only a small amount is needed and there is a risk of losing oil revenue.
Superintendent Larry Crowder said the amounts needed are $8,600 for the elementary school and $168 for the high school.
“If we don’t levy, we could lose about $11,000 in oil money,” Crowder said.
A levy would increase the budget causing a loss of oil revenue.
In other business, the board adopted the “Join The Ride” program that emphasizes positive sportsmanship and includes what is and is not proper conduct for adult and student spectators during athletic events and other school activities.
Any student or adult acting in an unsportsmanlike manner could be ejected and could be denied admission into future athletic and non-athletic events.
Examples include the use of vulgar or obscene language or gestures, possessing or being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, possession of a weapon, fighting or threatening another individual and engaging in any illegal or disruptive activity.
In another matter, the board approved the hiring of Tara Adams as head golf coach, Cody Steppler as head boys’ basketball coach, Ashley Sullivan as head girls’ basketball coach and Tiffany Marchwick as cheer coach.
The board also approved applications from three guest teachers pending background checks. Guest teachers serve as substitutes. They are Tifney Kempton, Tamar Haggerty and Hallie Finnicum, all of Culbertson.
The board also acknowledged the resignation of teacher Marji McCaffery, who is leaving to return to Butte. There was no formal acceptance of her resignation because she did not have a contract.
In other business, the board adopted a rate of $18 per hour for activity school bus drivers with a cap of 16 hours.
The board also voted to allow the removal and disposal of antiquated athletic uniforms that have been stored in the school. Some are from recent years and others date to the early 2000s. They are available to the public.
In another matter, the board approved a school calendar change allowing an earlier date for parent-teacher conferences.
The board also set the school board election for Tuesday, May 6, with polling from noon to 8 p.m. in both the school lunchroom and Mona Hall.
In a related matter, trustees appointed election judges. They are Laura June Beck and Ester and Alan Peterson as election judges at the school and Gloria Ralston, Doris Steppler and Kathy Steppler at Mona Hall.
The next regular meeting will be Monday, April 21.

Culbertson School Board Addresses Growth, Construction And Housing

As Culbertson grows along with the Bakken oil boom, so do the schools.
Culbertson Superintendent Larry Crowder told school trustees Monday, March 24 that the district is working with architects on drawings for an elementary classroom addition with four added classrooms that would help alleviate overcrowding by fall 2015.
“It is based on the current large classes and we have the projection of getting even larger,” Crowder told The Searchlight later.
He said the growth is mainly among the elementary school population. There are currently 170 kindergarten through sixth-grade students, an increase of 15 from this time last year and up from 145 two years ago.
Crowder told the board that concrete has been poured into the walls of the existing north gym structure for a new addition that would include a health classroom, weight room and storage on the north side of the existing gym.
“Those rooms were taken away from the school when we did the band room remodel two years ago,” Crowder said.
The trustees also considered options for teacher housing.
“The current rent prices are unaffordable to teachers,” Crowder said.
The district is considering three houses that are for sale near the school. The asking price is $220,000 for two of the houses. The district will obtain appraisals.
Another option discussed is construction of a four-unit apartment building the district would own and rent the apartments to teachers at lower than market rents.
Crowder met with a developer Tuesday, March 25, about his interest in building apartment buildings in both Culbertson and Bainville that could house teachers. There is no definite proposal at the current time.
Crowder acknowledged that adding affordable housing for up to four teachers would solve the immediate need but more housing might be necessary during the coming years.
The board also discussed the need to build a four-stall bus barn that could house up to four buses and possibly include a wash bay. Crowder said it could measure 50 by 100 or 125 feet.
Oil and gas tax revenue that has benefited the school district increased two and a half times from last year.
That is revenue that could fund construction of school additions.
The district receives Concentric Circle money, where a school district receives more than 130 percent in oil and gas revenue. The funds spill over into the neighboring districts. That funding generated by both the Bainville and Lambert school districts has benefited Culbertson.
“Their cups runneth over and it runneth into us,” Crowder said Tuesday, March 25.
The Montana Legislature put a two-year sunset provision on the Concentric Circle, ending the program June 30, 2015.
For now, the Culbertson district anticipates more Concentric Circle money before the program expires.
“It is our belief that we need to complete our infrastructure upgrades within that timeframe [by June 30, 2015[,” Crowder said.
“We need to live within our means,” he said. “No bond issues. No special levies.”
With the completion of the new classrooms, four new teachers will be needed.
Due to concerns that all four positions might not be filled before the 2015-2016 school year begins, the board voted to offer teacher contracts to two qualified teachers who live in the area. Both teachers, Courtney Hagadone and Brad Adams, will start in August 2014, rather than waiting until 2015.
“We may have resignations and we want to hire them now,” Crowder said.

Filing Deadline Closes For School Board Candidates

Several had filed for school board seats as the final three days for candidate filing began.
All school districts said some candidates might wait until the final day to file, which is Thursday, March 27.
As of Tuesday, no one had filed for two school trustee positions in Culbertson.
Those are the seats currently held by Amanda Cullinan and Ron Larsen.
In Bainville, board chairperson Dana Berwick has filed for reelection. As of Tuesday, he was unopposed. There are no other open positions.
Andrea Miller has filed papers to run for Froid’s only open school board seat. Incumbent Dana Strandlund is not seeking another term.

Several File For State And Federal Offices

Several people have filed for legislative and federal elected offices.
Candidate filing for members of qualified political parties opened Jan. 9 and closed March 10.
In State House District 31, incumbent Bridget Smith, D-Wolf Point, and Bill Whitehead, D-Wolf Point, have filed.
In house District 33, Floyd Russell Hopstad, D-Glasgow, has filed.
In house District 36, incumbent Austin Knudsen, R-Cul-bertson, and Gene O. Hartsock, D-Glasgow, have filed.
United States Senate candidates who have filed include incumbent John Walsh, D-Helena. Democrats challenging Walsh in the primary are Dirk Adams of Wilsall and John Bohlinger of Helena.
Republicans are Susan Cundiff of Missoula, Steve Daines of Helena; and Champ Edmunds of Missoula.
Eight candidates have filed for the single at-large congressional district. They are Elsie Arntzen, R-Helena; John Driscoll, D-Helena; Mike Fellows, Libertarian-Missoula; John Lewis, D-Helena; Matt Rosendale, R-Glendive; Corey Stapleton, R-Billings; Drew Turiano, R-Helena; and Ryan Zinke, R-Whitefish.
The primary election will be held Tuesday, June 3. The deadline for voter registration is May 5.
The general election will be Tuesday, Nov. 4; voter registration will close Oct. 6.