House Bill No. 501
Introduced By wagner, bergman, molnar, keenan, clark, orr, adams, harp, depratu
A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act specifying when ballots for certain school bond elections must be made available; requiring that certain notices be published in a newspaper of general circulation if there is one in the school district; and amending sections 20-6-604, 20-9-426, 20-20-204, and 20-20-401, MCA."
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:
Section 1. Section 20-6-604, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-6-604. Sale of property when resolution passed after hearing -- appeal procedure. (1) Whenever the trustees of a district determine that a site, building, or any other real or personal property of the district is or is about to become abandoned, obsolete, undesirable, or unsuitable for the school purposes of the district, the trustees may sell or otherwise dispose of the real or personal property in accordance with this section and without conforming to the provisions of 20-6-603. If a decision to sell or dispose of property is made, the trustees shall adopt a resolution to sell or otherwise dispose of the district real or personal property because it is or is about to become abandoned, obsolete, undesirable, or unsuitable for the school purposes of the district.
(2) The resolution may not become effective for 14 days after the notice required in subsection (3) is made.
(3) The trustees shall
cause notices of the resolution to be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the district. If
there is no newspaper of general circulation, the trustees shall cause notices of the resolution to be posted provide notice of
the resolution in the manner required for school elections in 20-20-204.
(4) A taxpayer may appeal the resolution of the trustees, at any time prior to the effective date of the resolution, to the district court by filing a verified petition with the clerk of the court and serving a copy of the petition upon the district. The petition must set out in detail the objections of the petitioner to the adoption of the resolution or to the disposal of the property. The service and filing of the petition stay the resolution until final determination of the matter by the court. The court shall immediately fix the time for a hearing at the earliest convenient time. At the hearing, the court shall hear the matter de novo and may take testimony as it considers necessary. Its proceedings are summary and informal, and its decision is final.
(5) The trustees of a district that has adopted a resolution to sell or otherwise dispose of district real or personal property and, if appealed, has been upheld by the court shall sell or dispose of the real or personal property in any reasonable manner that they determine to be in the best interests of the district.
(6) The money realized from the sale or disposal of real or personal property of the district must be credited to the debt service fund, building fund, general fund, or other appropriate fund, at the discretion of the trustees."
Section 2. Section 20-9-426, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-9-426. Preparation and form of ballots for bond election. (1) The school district shall cause ballots to be prepared
for all bond elections, and whenever bonds for more than one purpose are to be voted upon at the same election, separate
shall must be prepared for each purpose.
(2) For bond elections that are not held in conjunction with a school election, the ballots for absentee voting must be printed and made available at least 30 days before the bond election.
such ballots shall must be substantially in the following form:
OFFICIAL BALLOT SCHOOL DISTRICT BOND ELECTION
INSTRUCTIONS TO VOTERS: Make an X or similar mark in the vacant square before the words "BONDS--YES" if you wish to vote for the bond issue; if you are opposed to the bond issue, make an X or similar mark in the square before the words "BONDS--NO".
Shall the board of trustees be authorized to issue and sell bonds of this school district in the amount of .... dollars ($....),
bearing interest at a rate not more than .... percent (....%)
per annum a year, payable semiannually, during a period not more
than .... years, for the purpose .... (here state the purpose the same way as in the notice of election)?
 BONDS -- YES.
 BONDS -- NO."
Section 3. Section 20-20-204, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-20-204. Election notice. (1) (a) When the trustees of
any a district call a school election, they shall give notice of the
election not less than 20 days or more than 30 days before the day of the election by:
(i) publication of the notice in a newspaper of general circulation if there is one in the district;
(ii) posting notices in three public places in the district, provided that in incorporated cities and towns, at least one notice
shall must be posted at a public place in each ward or precinct.
(b) Whenever, in the judgment of the trustees, the best interest of the district will be served by the supplemental
publication of the school election notice in a radio or television broadcast, the trustees may cause
such that notification to
(2) The notice of a school election, unless otherwise required by law,
shall must specify:
(a) the date and polling places of the election;
(b) the hours that the polling places will be open;
(c) each proposition to be considered by the electorate;
(d) if there are trustees to be elected, the number of positions subject to election and the length of term of each position; and
(e) where and how absentee ballots may be obtained.
(3) If more than one proposition is to be considered at the same school election, each proposition must be set apart and separately identified in the same notice or published in separate notices."
Section 4. Section 20-20-401, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-20-401. Trustees' election duties -- ballot certification. (1) The trustees are the general supervisors of school elections unless the trustees request and the county election administrator agrees to conduct a school election under 20-20-417.
(2) Not less than 15 days before an election, the clerk of the district shall prepare a certified list of the names of all
candidates entitled to be on the ballot and the official wording for each ballot issue. The clerk shall arrange for printing the
ballots. Ballots for absentee voting must be printed and available at least 11 days
prior to before the election, except as
provided in 20-9-426(2) for a bond election not held in conjunction with a school election. Names of candidates on school
election ballots need not be rotated.
(3) Before the opening of the polls, the trustees shall cause each polling place to be supplied with the ballots and supplies necessary to conduct the election."