Thursday, September 21, 2023

Letters to the editor April 23

| April 23, 2023 12:00 AM

Moms ready to lead

As a young teacher in our school district and mother of two going through our schools, I was always happy in the past to have other young women serving on the Columbia Falls School Board. Ann Allen, Karen Fisher, Marion Foley and Judy Windauer come to mind and were engaged in the process as SD6 board members and always felt comfortable asking questions.

Board members make a lot of decisions that nobody ever thinks about when it comes to education. They work without pay and make votes on everything from transportation issues to how to spend our taxpayer dollars. They recently made the final decision on our new superintendent.

I hope my friends and neighbors will vote for two young women on this year’s mail ballot in Columbia Falls — Megan Upton and Keri Hill. Both have children in our schools and care about not only their future success but the other students in our system. Asking questions and making good decisions for our district is something I’m sure both will do.

The one thing I would like to see as a taxpayer is more transparency with the half million dollars a year spent on technology that we voted for a few years ago. More transparency with our tax dollars in general is always good when it comes to finance, just as the state has done.

Vote for Megan and Keri — young moms ready to ask the right questions and lead the district to higher levels.

Knowing the lackluster mail service we have, I encourage you to mail your ballots as soon as possible. Another option is dropping them off at the SD6 Administration Building next to the new Glacier Gateway School. You only have two weeks to vote for Megan and Keri.

— Dee Brown, Hungry Horse

Supports Mariman and Warnell

I am writing this letter in support of Jinnifer Mariman and Scott Warnell, who are running for the Kalispell School Board.

Jinnifer grew up in Libby and became a lawyer because she wanted to help people in her home town who were suffering from asbestos exposure. Jinnifer is committed to nurturing the lives of our youth. She has served as a member and president of the CASA board of trustees, has hosted interns from Kalispell schools interested in becoming a lawyer, and in collaboration with her daughter’s teacher, developed a program to support families surviving a suicide.

She and her husband own two businesses in Kalispell — Bias Brewing and McGarvey Law. Even more important she has two daughters, currently attending Kalispell schools, and wants to ensure that all children in our valley have a safe and supportive learning environment.

Scott Warnell, an incumbent, is a valuable member of the school board. He currently chairs the district’s finance committee and has served on the long range facility planning committee as well as the building committee. He makes sound and sometimes difficult decisions in the best interest of students and teachers. Scott was a 20 year member of the Kalispell Police Department, a school resource officer at Flathead High School and a youth sports coach. He brings a rich background of experience and wisdom to the board.

I am so thankful Jinnifer and Scott are running for the school board. They both have demonstrated an impressive commitment and positive energy in our community. They are exactly the kind of competent leaders who will work with parents, teachers and children to ensure our schools become even better. Join me in voting for Jinnifer Mariman and Scott Warnell.

— Carol Santa, Kalispell

Support the levies

I start each new school year with my French students by showing them my high school yearbook from 2004. I point to a page where seniors listed their future plans.

Mine: “To become a high school French teacher”.

I left my beloved home state over a decade ago to escape the attacks on public education and educators. I was exhausted and defeated after teaching for only three years. Year after year, I had to stand in front of my crying students and explain that due to budget cuts and failed levies, I was being laid off.

It was here in the valley that I found a community and a home to call my own. Over the last 11 years, I’ve continued to share that yearbook page; I’m proof that even high school dreams can come true if you find the right place with people who support you.

This spring as our community decides whether or not to support two KPS levies, I feel the same panic. Will this be another year of saying no, our 16th in a row, to our high school students? Or will we finally say yes?

Yes, we need classes beyond the basics like art, music, theater, AP/IB, STEM, etc.

Yes, we expect our students to have access to mental health and safety resources.

Yes, we value our community’s storied traditions of athletics and extracurriculars.

Yes, we want our students in Agricultural Education and career/technical programs.

Or will this be the year I or one or more of the over 750 dedicated, passionate KPS employees will have to stand in front of their students like I once did?

Let’s stand up as one brave pack for our students and educators. Please vote yes for the KPS levies by May 2.

— Stephanie Hill, Kalispell

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