The Bozeman School Board approved Monday night more than $4 million in construction projects and thanked voters who supported the schools this month by passing all four tax levies on the ballot.

The newly approved levies will pay for running the elementary and high schools next year, for $1.5 million a year in building repairs for the next six years, and new computer technology. Turnout was 31 percent, and the levies passed with 58 to nearly 64 percent of the vote.

“I appreciate the community supporting us in this,” Trustee Heide Arneson said. “We never take it for granted, and it will help us in the work we need to do.”

Leading the list of upcoming construction projects is expansion of the central school kitchens, which voters approved last year along with $20 million to build a new elementary school. Markovich Construction was the apparent low bidder for the $3.5 million expansion of the Support Services Building.

Another $456,000 will be spent on another round of roof repairs at Bozeman High and Whittier schools, with $350,000 of that cost expected to be covered by insurance, including more repairs of school roofs damaged in the 2010 hail storm. Another $124,000 will pay for the second phase of renovating high school locker rooms.

In other action Monday the board:

  • Voted 7-0 to hire Sarah Hays as the new principal of Emily Dickinson Elementary School. Hays has worked for the district since 1993, as a math and English teacher, curriculum director, and interim assistant principal at Bozeman High.
    Superintendent Rob Watson said she has “a wonderful reputation as a high-quality educator,” a wealth of experience and will make an “excellent” principal.
  • Swore in three incumbent trustees who ran unopposed in last week’s election: Sue MacGrath, Elizabeth Williamson and Andy Willett. Trustees unanimously elected Wendy Tage as board chair for the coming year and MacGrath as vice chair. Mike Waterman was chosen to continue as district clerk.
    Trustee Denise Hayman thanked Gary Lusin, who stepped down from the chair position, for his “leadership, calmness and total focus … on what’s best for kids.”

Gail Schontzler can be reached at or 582-2633.