By Tyler Allen
Explorebigsky.com Staff Writer
BIG SKY – The Big Sky School District returned from holiday break to a big surprise on its doorstep Monday, Jan. 7. Nine new students were waiting to begin school in Big Sky in 2013, a 4 percent increase for one of the fastest growing school districts in the state.
“We had four families come [to the school] around Christmas time,” Superintendent Jerry House said. “Most of the staff wasn’t there [to enroll the kids], but we knew a minimum of four were going to start on Monday.” Another five showed up to register in a school already close to capacity.
“Big Sky School District is growing,” House said. “People see a nice looking building on the outside, but on the inside what they don’t see is the classrooms are maxed out.” Every student needs a desk in each classroom and teachers are becoming limited in activities they can do because of space concerns.
“We have a great school here,” said Friends of Big Sky Education Board Chairman Loren Bough. “We would like to believe that the word is getting out.” The school is getting close to its legal limit with classroom capacity and in two years is projected to have an incoming kindergarten class of 40 students.
The Bowman family moved to Big Sky last week with their two sons, 5th grader Max and Hugo, in 9th grade, from Miami, Fla. They were met with an unexpected surprise when they arrived last week.
“We had found a place and went to see it,” Clara Bowman said. “But the broker said the people that applied before had gotten it. We met Mr. House at the school, and he said ‘I’ll make some calls’.” House called the Bowmans half an hour later with a lead; they went to see the new rental property and moved in two days later.
The Bowmans left Miami for Montana after Daniel, the father, started doing business in the Bakken oil region, but they wanted to live in Bozeman based on friends’ recommendations. They had trouble finding anything downtown and Bozeman was bigger than expected.
“Bozeman is a small town but it’s not that small,” Clara said. “Big Sky is a mountain village. It’s good to move here from Miami after 18 years, my boys always wanted to move to the mountains and cold [and away] from the sun. So far we love it. People seem very satisfied with their lives here.”
Four of the new students moved here from other Montana towns, two others from Florida and one from Kansas.
“It’s sort of a Big Sky thing,” House said. “People come for vacation and want to stay. It speaks well to this community.”