Friday, May 07, 2021

Letters to the editor April 29

| April 29, 2021 12:00 AM

Importance of education

In the next month we will have the opportunity to vote for Kalispell School Board trustees. This might seem a perfunctory task but presently we are up against nescient movements locally and nationally that will determine advancements into this century.

There is one aspect that separates our species from others and that is simply the abilities to acquire knowledge and utilize such in a creative direction. We have five incumbents who are running to continue growth in our educational system in Kalispell. There are five atavistic choices who have presented themselves as anti-mask, anti-science, anti-public education and are potentially focused on deemphasis of one aspect of our culture that we can be proud of, namely, our public education systems.

Ours has been exemplary but there are other areas of the country that are in regression. We need to keep in mind that Montana, like other areas of the country and world, are in rapid transitions and education is the opportunity to move forward, not return to outmoded directions and goals. We have seen the impact of such poor insight nationally, leaving us trailing many other cultures and societies as they move forward.

Our primary goal in life should be to be good ancestors, our future belongs to young! So I recommend you vote for Isaak, Corrigan, Linden, Waller and Wilson, to continue to emphasis the importance of education in the valley.

—Jack Hornby, Kalispell

Vote for freedom

In the race for the five positions on the Kalispell School District Board of Trustees the choice is simple. If you want continuing fear, the same old policies, and preservation of the status quo then vote for the incumbents.

If you want freedom, new policy ideas and a new direction then vote for Trish Pandina, Tina Tobiason, Shaun Pandina, Dennis Gomez, and Heather Asher. The choice couldn’t be more clear, Freedom over Fear.

—Thomas Millett, Kalispell

Stay the course

I have had the privilege to serve on the Kalispell Public Schools’ board of trustees for the past six years and to be board chair for the past four. There are an ongoing variety of challenges the board deals with every year including policy changes, facility upgrades due to aging buildings, system wide student population growth, priority-based budgets, personnel issues, and staff changes.

Nothing could have prepared KPS for the challenges the Covid pandemic has placed on everyone at KPS. However, a groundwork of trust was fostered by the board and KPS staff to make the best decisions possible with the changing information we had available. A decision was made months prior to the 2020 school year that KPS needed to prioritize offering in-person classes as well as a remote education option. It was an underlying consensus students learn best when they are physically with their teachers and in their schools. Many at-risk youth receive mental health treatment, meals, and support, which are much more limited virtually. Many families depend on KPS to be in session so guardians can go to their work. The decision to prioritize on-site instruction was the easiest part, but how to carry it out was the biggest challenge. Through this year, a high level of trust has been generated through out KPS that allows students to learn, teachers to teach, and the board to trustees to support what is best for children based on sound professional advice.

I urge our community to stay the current course and support incumbents in the Kalispell Public School’s Trustee races. Lance Isaak, Sue Corrigan, Rebecca Linden, Amy Waller, and Kim Wilson have demonstrated the leadership required to steer KPS through a huge variety of ongoing charges and challenges and prepare o school district for continuing success in the future.

—Lance Isaak, Kalispell

Public participation

I’ve been reading in the papers the statements from the plethora of school board challenger candidates. There are very impressive statements of the educations, qualifications, civic and community involvements, spiritual and political alignments and the reasons why they should be elected for the betterment of our children.

What I have not seen in these statements is the mention of the challenger candidate’s attendance or their participation in the school board meetings. I think it is very important for the candidate to be well versed in the school district workings and by having been a regular participant at these meetings. Even as an observer, the candidate would have a better feel as to how they may serve. No use in re-inventing the wheel!

To those trustees who have served in the past and are who are moving on, thank you for your service to our children!

—Skeeter Johnston, Whitefish

Support the incumbents

I am writing to support the reelection of the current School District 5 board members: Kim Wilson, Sue Corrigan, Lance Isaak, Rebecca Linden and Amy Waller. I feel they have done an admirable job of supporting the administration and the students during one of the most challenging periods in the history of the United States. Not only were there the unknowns of the pandemic but also there was the transition from a retiring Superintendent to a new leader and growth in number of students in the district.

I served as a school board trustee in Butte and on the Montana School Board Association. It appears to me that the current board members are fulfilling their duties and responsibilities in an exemplary manner.

Although we live in Columbia Falls, our grandchildren attend school in School District 5, and have been able to attend school during this year.

Kalispell was the only Class AA district which essentially stayed open during the period of the pandemic. The trustees, administration and staff stood up for the students. The current trustees are all well-qualified and experienced and have served with distinction during this difficult time.

—Carol McElwain, Columbia Falls