CS Masthead

Go-Getters’ Kids Rodeo

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Go-Getters Rodeo queen contestant Tally Berwick of Bainville.  (Photo by John Plestina)

Lt. Governor Hears About Eastern Roosevelt County’s Bakken Growing Pains

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Culbertson school board chairman Paul Finnicum explains about the school’s achievements to Lt. Gov. Angela McLean.  School board member Ron Larsen is also pictured.  (Photo by John Plestina)

Growing pains forged out of the Bakken oil boom that have impacted Cul­bertson and other eastern Roosevelt County communities were stressed to Lt. Gov. Angela McLean in a meeting at Culbertson School, Friday, Sept. 5, with school superintendent Larry Crowder, school board chairman Paul Finnicum and board member Ron Larsen.
Crowder told McLean that the district is adding four additional classrooms to alleviate increasing enrollments and crowded classrooms.
Culbertson School is not accepting out-of-district enrollments for those grades with crowded classes.
“It’s the first time that I remember we had to turn kids away,” Finnicum said.
“Thirty-five percent are out of district. There is a reason that 35 percent of our students come from out of our district,” he said of the high standard of education in Culbertson.
“We ran out of desks. We ran out of lockers,” Finnicum said.
“Two summers ago we hired 11 new teachers,” Crowder said and added that there were fewer openings this past summer, and it was easier for the district to fill the positions.
The high cost of living in eastern Roosevelt County was cited.
“A lot of this is oil and gas. There was no real way to prepare for that,” Finnicum said.
“If I want to rent a bedroom in a basement, it’s $700 a month,” he said.
But instead of inflating wages to attract and retain teachers, the trustees opted to pay impact stipends and provide district-owned affordable housing for staff.
Oil and gas impacts have benefited the district financially, including the concentric circle funding that benefits school districts with oil and gas development and the neighboring districts. It provided just under $1 million to the Culbertson district last year.
“We haven’t levied a dime,” Finnicum said.
Preschool and pending “Early Edge” state legislation that would fund it statewide was also discussed.
“It’s hard to maintain a preschool presence,” Finnicum said.
McLean said she thinks if the legislation passes, there would be a 75 percent take-up rate the first year.
“We want the legislature to make funding available,” she said, adding that she thinks that will happen.
Finnicum said he doesn’t want to see “Early Edge” bring a preschool program into place at the cost of other educational funding from the state.
Larsen said the Culbertson district is dealing with high mobility of families with children because of the oil industry.
“Mobility is a big factor right now,” Finnicum said.
He said there is a higher percentage of children from transient Bakken families with Individual Education Plans in special education than children from more stable families.
“In the last five years, we have seen a rapid increase in our special education count,” Crowder said.
He is in his 17th year as superintendent and said he has seen significant growth and changes.
“We are keenly aware of the challenges you face,” McLean said. “[The state] will assist appropriately.”

Storm Produces Damage, Unconfirmed Funnel Cloud Reports

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A microburst Wednesday, Sept. 3, blew out a garage door and wall on Darrell and Karen Synan’s shop near McCabe.  (Submitted Photo)


The National Weather Service in Glasgow reported that the storm system that brought thunder storms to Roosevelt, Valley, Daniels and Sheridan counties, Wednesday, Sept. 3, included a series of multicellular line thunderstorms that moved eastward between the Canadian border and U.S. Hwy 2.
The storms produced isolated areas of microburst winds and hail up to one inch in diameter.
The NWS conducted a damage survey based on reports that buildings and large trees were down and unconfirmed reports of funnel cloud.
Wind gusts as high as 67 mph were reported between Wolf Point and Scobey,
A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for southeastern Daniels, northwestern Roosevelt and western Sheridan County from 5:40 p.m. through 6:45 p.m.
Another warning was issued east of the original one that included southeastern Daniels County, northeastern Roosevelt County and all of Sheridan County from 6:29 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Damage was reported near McCabe and Froid.
Winds estimated to have been as high as 75 mph caused reported damage at a new home site with a modular home and a large metal pole barn located 2.4 miles east of the intersection of Montana Hwy. 16 and County Road 496. A few nearby homes had missing shingles. A few trees were snapped or cracked. A garage door was blown in and a wall blown out on a pole barn.

Dual Enrollment Coming To Culbertson

Lt. Gov. Angela McLean talked about dual enrollment in college courses for high school students while visiting Culbertson School, Friday, Sept. 5.
The program is expected to be available to Culbertson High School students.
The program gives students the opportunity to earn high school and college credit simultaneously as a head start on college. The credit is transferable throughout the Montana University System and accepted by accredited colleges and universities nationwide.
Dual enrollment students pay half price tuition and no university fees.
Teachers instructing dual-enrollment classes earn coupons to pay for their own college credits.
Gov. Steve Bullock, McLean and Commissioner of Higher Education Clay Christian announced a pilot program in May to prepare more qualified Montana high school teachers to teach dual-credit high school classes that would give students college credit before graduation.
There are about 300 teachers in Montana with master’s degrees who are capable of teaching dual-enrollment courses.
If a teacher has more than four students enrolled in a concurrent dual enrollment class, teachers will receive a credit-for-credit coupon for themselves, which can be used at any college in the Montana University System as well as tribal colleges.

Ponders Street Closures

Bainville Town Council
The Bainville Town Council considered closing and vacating two streets during the monthly meeting, Monday, Sept. 8.
One of the closures is Tubman Street, between Clark and Fifth streets in front of Bainville School. The street is needed for a planned school expansion.
A second closure [Lincoln Avenue through a trailer court] is on hold because approval is needed from the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe railroad because the street is adjacent to tracks.
The council also discussed a renewal of a contract with Bowker Sanitation, but no decision was made because the town is still looking at preliminary numbers.