By Jim Schroeder
The Cottonwood school district has filed a busing complaint against the Havre elementary district.
In a letter Sept. 20 to the Hill County superintendent of schools, Cottonwood said Havre Elementary School District 16 is transporting 10 students out of the Cottonwood district without a transportation agreement.
Havre Public Schools Superintendent Kirk Miller declined to comment on the complaint until the Havre district sends a reply to County Superintendent of Schools Shirley Isbell.
The complaint said Havre is picking up students on the Wildhorse, Shepherd/Badland and Highway 2 West routes and also is picking up students in front of Mike Tilleman's house in the Cottonwood district.
The complaint is just the latest exchange between the two districts over busing.
"It's been a big mess for years," Cottonwood school board chairwoman Beverly Peterson said.
Peterson says the Cottonwood elementary district had a written agreement with the Havre school district since the mid-1990s that allowed Havre to bus Cottonwood students to Havre schools. But Cottonwood never had an agreement with Havre allowing Cottonwood to bus Havre students to the Cottonwood School.
Despite the lack of an agreement, Cottonwood bused students out of Havre from 2000 to 2002. District officials felt the Havre district was being unfair to Cottonwood since Havre allowed other districts to bus students out of Havre, Peterson said.
The Cottonwood district sent a letter to the Havre school district in May asking for a reciprocal agreement for transportation, but Havre declined, Peterson said. After that, Cottonwood revoked its agreement allowing Havre to bus Cottonwood students.
The Havre school board in June decided that no districts would be allowed to bus Havre students out of Havre.
Peterson said she isn't trying to force Havre students that live in Cottonwood to go to the Cottonwood schools, but she would like a busing agreement between the two districts.
would like a busing agreement between the two districts.
"We asked for a reciprocal agreement and they said no. What can we do?" Peterson said. "They are picking kids up in our district and they don't have our permission."