By Tim Leeds
Wayne Bolken, president of the HEA (Havre Education
Association) said the union is fully supportive of the Havre
Public School's plan to restructure the schools to manage
"The teachers last night, in fact, were fully in support of
the restructuring and proposed mill levy for the high
school," he said.
Bolken said the HEA decided, with no dissension, to support
the proposals, which include closure of Devlin Elementary
School, restructuring the remaining schools to grade-level
instead of neighborhood schools, and reduction of full-time
staff and offerings at the middle school and high school.
Superintendent Kirk Miller said the meeting went well, with
a satisfactory discussion of questions raised at the
Bolken said there are probably some individuals out there
who are not happy with the proposed changes, but that the
union, as a body, is in support of them.
Miller's team of 13 administrators concentrated on the
issue for the three months prior to the restructuring being
proposed at the Feb. 13 meeting of the Board of Trustees.
The changes will be voted on with a first reading at the
March 13 meeting of the trustees and a second and final
reading at the April 10 meeting. If approved, the district
plans are to begin the process of the restructure on April
Declining enrollment, lack of state funding increases,
inflation and the need to continue to hire and retain
qualified staff have led to an estimated budget deficit for
next year of about $300,000 on the elementary level and
$360,000 on the high school level.
The proposed restructure will result in the elimination of
about six FTEs (full-time-equivalent) teaching positions and
three full-time certified staff at the elementary schools,
three FTE at the middle school and three FTE at the high
school, along with some fee and budgeting changes at the
The estimated savings are about $254,000 at the elementary
schools, about $76,000 at the middle school and about
$141,000 at the high school. The remaining amount for the
high school, about $220,000, will be proposed as a mill levy