The Monforton School Board Tuesday will ask the Gallatin County Commission to abandon a portion of Monforton School Road to help make the area safer and accommodate a planned expansion, according to the school's superintendent.

Lynne Scalia, superintendent and principal of the K-8 school, said the bisection of the road, which connects Huffine Lane to Baxter Lane, through the school zone creates a hazardous and "chaotic" situation for school buses and parents picking up their children.

Icy road conditions and traffic have forced a school bus to go off the road, and there is no crosswalk for kids to cross from one side of the road to the other, she said. Currently, the parking lot is too small to handle the number of cars that park at the school, and some drivers are parking on the private property of the school's neighbors, she said.

"We've had some near misses with kids, and adults," she said.

So Monforton wants to close about 900 feet of the road that passes in front of the school to public access. To do so, the county must abandon its right of way on that portion of the road. The closure would also help make room for a potential expansion of the school and parking lot, Scalia said.

The plan calls for the creation of cul-de-sacs at each end of the road so cars can turn around, Scalia said. It would also require the county to designate nearby Circle F Trail as a public right of way to replace Monforton School Road.

County Clerk and Recorder Charlotte Mills said that a petition with 10 signatures in favor of the county abandoning the road has been filed with her office, in accordance with state law. A public hearing on the matter will be held Tuesday during the commissioners' regular meeting in the community room at the Gallatin County Courthouse.

Scalia acknowledged that the abandonment may inconvenience some of the road's residents who are used to driving from one end of Monforton School Road to the other.

"They don't like it, but most of them are willing to do it because they know it's the best thing for the kids and the school," she said.

In other business Tuesday, commissioners are scheduled to:

  • Open bids for 2010 a road chip sealing project on various county roads.
  • Hold a public hearing and decide on a first reading of a speed ordinance for River Rock School on Green Belt Drive and East River Rock Road.
  • Hold a public hearing and decide on a request by F&H, LLC, for $4.25 million in federal recovery zone bonds to construct the new F&H Building, which will house the Rockin' R Bar.
  • Hold a public hearing and decide on amending the Public Safety State Emergency and Disaster Fund to include $36,900 in grant money.
  • Hold a public hearing and decide on preliminary plat approval for the Kawasaki minor subdivision.

The commission meets at 9 a.m. in the Gallatin County Courthouse community room. The meetings are televised on community cable television and audio streamed on the county's website. For more information or to see the entire agenda, visit http://www.gallatin.mt.gov">www.gallatin.mt.gov.

Lauren Russell can be reached at lrussell@dailychronicle.com or 582-2635.