By Adam Jerome, I-O Reporter
With the passage of House Bill 488 the next step in the possible Dutton/Brady transfer is about to take shape.
Last Spring HB-488 was passed to allow residents of the old Brady School District (and other similar districts) to petition their land out of the Brady/Dutton School District under the laws that were in place when they consolidated.
Since the bill’s passage, Brady residents began to circulate a petition to leave the Dutton/Brady District in favor of the Conrad School District.
In order to move to a public hearing the land owners in the old Brady School district needed a Supermajority of 60 percent of the qualified voters.
It is important to note that the petitioned land will not exactly be the old Brady district. Instead it will encompass all of the land other than a three mile radius around the Midway Colony School. This was done, because the law states that land may not be petitioned within three miles of a functioning school.
The contested land contains 282 qualified voters. The petitioners gained 66 percent of the voters to move to the next step. The 66 percent is also a little misleading as only 20 voters declined to sign the petition, the rest of the 34 percent not included were not able to be reached, because they do not live in the area anymore.
One of the petitioners’ attorneys is Daniel Jones with Jardine, Stephenson, Blewett & Weaver out of Great Falls. Jones is also the son of Rep. Llew Jones who introduced HB-488 during the 2009 legislation.
D. Jones has been working on the issue since October when his firm was approached by the Brady land owners.
As it stands now, there are 36 school age children in the contested district, 26 of which already attend school in Conrad.
Jones commented on the issue, “The Brady residents want an opportunity to be on the board and have their taxes follow the school in which their children attend.”
In a school board meeting in Conrad on Nov. 10, the board voted unanimously to accept the petitioned land.
Conrad Superintendent Lynn Utterback commented, “The Conrad school system did not initiate and by law cannot initiate the petition, but we would support the transfer if it goes through.”
He went on to add, “We all ready have a majority of the kids in the Conrad schools, so it would be nice to have the tax dollars to support them.”
Brady land owner Cynthia Johnson continues the sentiment, “We own a farm 45 miles from where our taxes go. The kids out there have always gone to school in Conrad and we would like to have a say in their education and want our taxes to go to the school that educates our children.”
One question that has been asked is if the land transferred involves the new gym in Conrad. Are the people from the petitioned district responsible for a share of the cost?
The answer in short is no. The gym levy was attached to the property that was in the district at the time when the levy was passed.
They would though be responsible for their share of other educational costs going forward.
When approached with the issue the Dutton/Brady School Board tabled the issue on Nov. 17.
The next step in the process is a public hearing on Jan. 5, 2010. The hearing will be presided over by Pondera County Superintendent Jo Stone, Teton County Superintendent Diane Inbody, and Missoula County Superintendent Rachel Vielleux with a majority decision deciding the hearing. The hearing will take place at the Pondera County Court House.
The reason for Vielleux’s involvement is because the law stipulates that when two counties are involved in transfer issues they must choose a third superintendent to be a member of the hearing panel.
While any decision will be subject to the appeals process it will be very difficult to overturn.
Editor’s Note: The I-O will have further information available after the Jan. 5 hearing.
Work on highway improvement project on Primary Route 21 (Midway Road) has been shut down for the winter.
Paving, chip seal, and striping operations will be performed next spring beginning about April 19, 2010, according to Doug Wilmot, District Construction Engineer for the Montana Department of Transportation in Great Falls.
The posted speed limit on the gravel section from mile post 0.6 (Brady Frontage Road) to mile post 3.2 (Pendroy Road/Front Street) is 45 mph.
The posted speed limit from mile post 3.2 to mile post 3.6 (Conrad city limits at 8th Ave.) is 35 mph.
Please note that the Montana Highway Patrol will be enforcing these posted speed limits.
Nelcon, Inc. of Kalispell will be performing the winter maintenance on the gravel section only.
BIG DECISION — Cowboy Luke Schlosser, 112 pounds, won a 5-1 decision over Colin Rupert of Bozeman and placed second at the Billings tournament this past weekend. I-O Photo by Colleen Moritz
By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor
If you use the Billings meet as an “indicator” a whole bunch of the Class B schools are going to be looking up at the Cowboy matmen this season.
Conrad placed 11th at the annual meet in Billings that also attracts many of the best wrestlers in Wyoming. In fact a team from Gillette won the tournament.
Team scores and places looked like this; Gillette 255, Billings Skyview 220, Bozeman 168, Great Falls High, Billings Senior 145, Huntley Project 127, Laurel 125, CMR 108, Billings Skyview JV 87, Billings West 85, Conrad 83.5, Buffalo 71, Shepherd 43, Billings SR-JV 26,
Billings West-JV 14, Billings Central 6, Columbus-Absarokee 2.
All the schools that finished higher that Conrad are either Class AA or A, with the exception of Huntley Project.
Luke Schlosser tipping the scales at 112 pounds and Brett Bishop in the 140 bracket, both placed second at the meet.
Early on, Schlosser had a pin-win and a 5-1 decision and Bishop won a match with a pin in just :39. Lucas Schultz, at 189 pounds came on to place fifth and did so with a pin-win in 3:04 over Ryan Gueff of Skyview 2. Johnny Schlosser placed fourth in the 160 pound bracket.
Coach Kevin Moritz commented, “I am very proud of this team in its first meet of the year against very tough opponents from larger schools.”
Saturday there was a JV takedown tournament and Conrad had four wrestlers participate. Wesley Varnum took first place, Bryce Watterud was second and Justin Ratzburg and Ryan Townsend were in fifth place, all in their respective weight classes.
Moritz went on to add, “I felt the kids wrestled well after all the sickness we have been battling the last two weeks.”
The Cowboy Wrestler of the Week is shared by L. Schlosser and Bishop. “Both wrestlers showed great desire and a no-quit attitude in their matches,” Moritz said.
The Stepped It Up award, for going above and beyond expectation, went to Shultz.
The Practice Wrestler of the Week, for showing leadership, sacrifice and a good work ethic went toWatterud for going to camps in the off-season and to stay after practice to work extra time on his moves.
The JV Wrestler of the Week award went to Varnum for his attitude and work ethic and for placing first in the Takedown tourney on Saturday.
Thursday the team is in Shelby for a meet with the Coyotes and then Dec. 11-12 they are in the Mining City of Butte for a big duals meet