LOCKWOOD — The issue of high school redistricting in Billings School District 2 generated extensive conversation during the meeting of the Lockwood School Board on Tuesday evening.
Conrad Stroebe, a Lockwood resident who for many years represented Lockwood on the SD2 board, brought his concerns to the Lockwood Board of trustees. He was accompanied by his wife, Teresa, who also served in that position at one time and is a former member of the Lockwood School board.
Conrad informed the board that as of Tuesday morning, there was no representation from Lockwood on the team of volunteers that SD2’s professional consultant, Matthew Cropper, and SD2 Superintendent Terry Bouck had assembled.
Cropper said that they had received no applicants from Lockwood and rejected Stroebe serving because he has an agenda that Cropper said has no place in an exercise aimed at serving ”the needs of every student as a whole and not just the area they live.” However, by day’s end on Tuesday, Cropper reported having asked former Lockwood School Board member Jen Wagoner to serve on the committee which will provide input in the process.
In an email he sent to SD2 officials, Cropper said, “It’s too bad it took this long to get someone on board, but in the end, it’s a better group.”
The action came after Stroebe appealed in an email to Cropper and Bouck, “Please let our community participate! Please let all the feeder school communities participate! Lockwood has 10 percent of the high school kids attending two of the three Billings high schools — and no representation on the Cropper committee. Our kids and their families are forced to spend an extra hour a day commuting, often giving up participation in activities. Billings Public Schools spends $6 million in transportation . . . that could be saved with true neighborhood walkable, bikeable schools. ($1,700 for each of the 3,500 bused kids — and that implies another $20+ million private transportation [costs] for the other 13,000 students.)”
Stroebe asked for more than one Lockwood representative.
“I am not trying to block your ‘productivity’ — I just want the feeder school kids to have the same amount of representation as the kids in the Billings elementary trustee sub-districts. At 28 members for seven Billings elementary subdistricts, that is four members from each, thus eight from the two feeder sub-districts… For you to imply that global input is more valuable than local input is just wrong,” wrote Stroebe.