Belgrade voters have approved a construction bond for the expansion of Ridge View Elementary in River Rock.
Posted: Friday, November 6, 2015 6:07 am Sam Weber, staff writer
Tuesday’s general election brought in new city officials in Belgrade, Manhattan and Three Forks, as well as a long awaited sigh of relief to Belgrade School District officials. Belgrade voters also said yes to a $3.4 million construction bond for Ridge View Elementary.
Gallatin County Clerk and Recorder Charlotte Mills said nearly 47,000 ballots were sent out across the county, and 18,576 of those were returned. That response rate of about 40 percent is about normal, Mills said. Voter turnout is typically lower for local elections.
Voters from all three wards in Belgrade had the Ridge View Elementary bond issue on their ballots. A special rural district ballot was also sent out for people who live within the Belgrade School District, but outside city limits. Of the 8,915 people who could have voted on the bond, nearly half of them returned their ballots. The bond issue passed with a 61 percent approval rate — 2,656 said yes and 1,694 said no.
While these results are still “unofficial” until they are canvassed next Monday night, Mills said they are unlikely to change.Belgrade School District Clerk Jay Bates said the turnout was “very good.”
“It’s usually been a lot closer,” he said. “When we do mill levy elections, it’s usually within 150 votes or so one way or another.”
Ridge View Elementary Principal Mat Johnston said he was pleased with the voter response as well.
“It felt amazing,” he said. “It was just such a big stress relief. It makes you wish you could go around and shake everyone’s hand and thank them for voting, even the people who voted against it, but the best we can do now is just get the word out.”
Johnston said the Belgrade School Board will officially accept the vote at their meeting on Monday, then plans can move forward for the expansion.“Now the fun stuff starts where we actually get to start planning the building,” he said.