by Judy Killen
Gov. Steve Bullock said last week he has taken no official stance on a Senate bill that would allow Lockwood and two other elementary school districts in the state to expand and potentially build high schools.
Speaking at Lockwood School, where he was visiting its pre-kindergarten classroom, Bullock said he is willing to let the Senate Bill 107 advance through the legislative process before he decides whether to support it.
He said he believes letting the measure work its way through both chambers “generates discussion (and) can educate me and all the other legislators.”
“I haven’t weighed in on it,” he said, although he has heard rumors that he’s thrown in his support for bigger school districts, where superintendents have expressed concerns with the measure and its potential effects on school funding. “If it gets to my desk I’ll take a close look at it.”
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Taylor Brown, R-Huntley, would remove a moratorium in place since 1983 that keeps elementary school districts from expanding into high school districts. Three districts, Lockwood, East Helena and Missoula Hellgate, would fit the criteria established under Brown’s bill.
“I want to see where it comes from before I weigh in,” Bullock said. “I try to limit the areas up front where I say, ‘No matter what, I’m going to veto that.'”