Angela Brandt Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
After about 30 years of heated debate and dissenting votes, the Havre Public Schools board decided Tuesday night to allow two Hi-Line Hutterite colonies the chance to house attendance centers on their land. Hilldale and East End colonies proposed an interlocal agreement between Rocky Boy Public Schools and Havre Public Schools that will remove both schools from Havre Elementary District 16, allowing Rocky Boy to conduct a 10- month study to determine the feasibility of providing the colonies with attendance centers, which are schools with limited resources that are connected to an existing public school system. Four board members voted for the agreement vice-chair Todd Hanson, Teresa Miller, Joe Marino and Norm Proctor and three opted to not pass the motion chair Denise Thompson, Kathie Newell and Gus Sharp. “It was a difficult decision for the Havre board to make. This first step is a huge hurdle jumped,” said Rocky Boy Public Schools Superintendent Voyd St. Pierre, who is in his first year as lead administrator. “The agreement is in the best interest of the kids in Montana.” If the study finds the schools feasible and in the best interest of all involved, the agreement would allow Rocky Boy to establish the schools. St. Pierre said the facilities will allow the students to learn within their community. “Havre and the colonies are different. Rocky Boy and the colonies are different. We have learned from our research that students do successfully when getting an education in their own environment, ” he said. Rocky Boy will be responsible for establishing budgets, securing instructional equipment, employing teachers and meeting state regulations. HPS agreed that all entitlement funds associated with the schools would be collected by Rocky Boy. Thompson is not a fan of the agreement. “It is not the right thing to do. I have always voted against it,” she said. Rocky Boy administration and leaders of the two colonies had proposed the same agreement in April and were met with a 3-3 vote. For it to pass, a majority vote was needed. Thompson said the attendance centers would be a “misuse of tax-payer dollars.” “There are too many schools in the state of Montana already and now you want to build two more. We closed a school here in Havre a few years ago and schools along the Hi-Line have consolidated,” she said. The agreement will not cost the Havre district any money and leaves all funding and implementation of the centers to Rocky Boy schools. East End Colony School administrator Joe Waldner said the classrooms currently used by the colonies will be leased to Rocky Boy for a dollar per year. Waldner said if the schools’ cost ran more expensive than expected the colony could issue a grant to cover theCopter, Heatwole said. Flooding and mudslides along the Richardson Highway, which parallels the pipeline and is the only roadway out of Valdez, disrupted vehicle traffic. The Alaska Department of Transportation closed a 65-mile stretch of the highway, starting near Valdez. The highway is expected to be closed for several days. The Weather Service said 6.5 inches of rain fell Sunday and Monday at Valdez. Flooding in Keystone Canyon near Valdez hit three bridges hard and moved one five feet, said DOT spokeswoman Shannon McCarthy. High water along other roads in Valdez was hampering Alyeska’s ability to staff the Valdez Marine Terminal, where oil is loaded onto tankers. The terminal is across Port Valdez from the city and a road leading to it was affected by flooding. But Heatwole said there was no disruption in Valdez operations. Essential employees reported to work at the Valdez harbor and were transported across Port Valdez by boat. One tanker was loaded Tuesday with oil from one of the facility’s 14 500,000-gallon tanks. Another tanker was en route to Valdez, he said. The entire Prudhoe Bay oil field had produced more than 400,000 barrels a day _ or 8 percent of total U.S. output _ until leaks and the discovery of pipe corrosion led the company to begin shutting down the eastern half of the field Aug. 6. The eastern side of the field was restarted late last month as the company began to clean out the transit pipeline there. Before the power outage, BP workers this week were continuing to scrape and clean Prudhoe’s east side transit line with devices called maintenance “pigs.” The work follows intensive ultrasonic inspections and other sound wave tests. Next, workers will put a “smart pig” through the line to check for thin spots using ultrasound. BP officials declined to say exactly when that would occur, only that they were working on a two-week maintenance effort that began Sept. 30. BP has said it ultimately will replace 16 of 22 miles of transit lines. It expects to get replacement pipe by the end of the year, with construction beginning early next year.