The Monforton School District Board of Trustees is asking voters to approve the sale of $3.5 million in bonds for improvements to its school building, portions of which date back more than a century.

Details of the trustees' request will be explained tonight at an informational meeting at the school, beginning at 6:15 p.m

"We are growing like crazy," Monforton superintendent and principal Lynne Scalia said. "Our biggest concern is the old building. It's just not safe for kids. It was fine as a one-room schoolhouse with 10 kids, but not anymore."

Monforton has record enrollment this fall - around 230 students.

To accommodate that ever-growing number, the district's plan calls for moving the kindergarten, first- and second-grade classes out of the south building, which is more than 120 years old, and into new classrooms in the more modern north building.

The south building, which does not meet health and fire codes, would then be used just for meetings and storage.

The north building classrooms would be upgraded to meet air quality and comfort standards. In fact, most of the bond money would go to replacing the heating, ventilation and electrical systems in the north building, improve parking and installing a fire alarm and sprinkler system.

To help with the costs, the district has gathered $450,000 in donations and $500,000 in capital improvement grants for the renovation. Ten acres of land for the expansion was donated by Ken and Nancy Flikkema, further decreasing the cost to taxpayers.

"We've been pounding the pavement to reduce the impact on our taxpayers," Scalia said. "It has really helped defray the costs."

If school bonds on the ballot in Billings and Lewistown fail this month, Monforton is next in line for a 0 percent interest rate loan through the Quality Schools Construction Bond program. The loan would save Monforton tax payers $1.9 million.

"And even if we don't get the QSC bond, it's still a good time to get a loan, interest rate-wise," Scalia said.

Ballots will be mailed out on Sept. 24 and the election ends Oct. 12. Voters must be registered by Sept. 13.

Samantha Booth can be reached at