BILLINGS - Some of the pupils at Billings elementary schools about to close for good will get $50 savings bonds, gifts from PTAs that held fund-raisers over the years and built up accounts to benefit the schools.

The Rimrock Elementary School PTA has about $10,000 in its treasury and intends to spend just over half to give each child a bond. The group also will host a catered barbecue for families during the last week of school, and pay for Rimrock families to use a water park for a couple of hours.

The expenditures were decided after PTA members narrowly rejected a proposal that the organization spend money to join a lawsuit challenging the closure of Rimrock, Beartooth and Garfield schools.

The school board said the closures are necessary because of declining enrollment and a projected deficit of $2.6 million in the budget for elementary education.

The PTA at Beartooth has about $6,000 and will buy savings bonds for the children.

"We felt that was something that they could take with them and would grow as they would grow," said Lynette Guscott, Beartooth PTA president. The group also plans to give out disposable cameras, so children can take pictures on the last day of school.

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