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Billings Public Schools postpones redistricting, parents concerned about safety

By David Jay,


BILLINGS - Major changes are ahead for Billings Public Schools in the coming months and year, but for now a major proposal has been delayed.

The redistricting plan will no longer be happening as soon as originally thought.

Drawing new boundaries in School District 2 has been a concern for families, with parents voicing those concerns in emails to the board and at meetings.

With that feedback, the school board has decided to put off redistricting for another year.

"And it's going to be my recommendation that we hold a decision on the redistricting until the 23-24 school year," Superintendent Greg Upham said at the board meeting on Monday.

Upham made the recommendation to the board to delay the redistricting plan . And that is welcome news to some parents.

"This was the best decision to get some more information," said Jennifer Klatte.

Klatte says she and her husband have concerns about their youngest child changing schools.

"There has not been any real communication with the taxpayers with the parents, with the people in the neighborhoods with thought to these kids," Klatte said. "Their emotional well-being. Their social well-being. Their educational well-being."

She also says there are safety issues in getting to school.

"A lot of busy streets," Klatte said. "And during the school year, a lot of inclement weather. It's not safe for the kids to walk, especially on some of the roads out there. There's no sidewalks. Traffic is going very quickly. I think that's not a safe thing."

Parents at Monday's meeting also shared their thoughts.

"My girl and her friends are trying to get through downtown over the tracks" said one parent, if her daughter had to cross the railroad tracks to get to Riverside Middle School. "If there's a train, do they make a decision to go somewhere else or did they just wait there?"

"I believe this creates both significant transportation and safety concerns for our neighborhoods' children," another parent said.

With the year delay parents will have a chance to give more input to the board.

One trustee said the delay will allow the board can get more feedback, while another said it would be appropriate to get a consensus from the community.

"It's not going to hurt anything to extend it one year," Upham said

But he did say an extension may affect the bus schedule.

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