2023 school election results: Kalispell levy requests a mixed bag
Daily Inter Lake | May 3, 2023 8:28 AM
Tuesday's school elections concluded at 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 2. The Daily Inter Lake is posting unofficial results as they become available.
Updated 1:54 a.m., May 3
Kalispell Public Schools saw mixed results at the ballot box Tuesday. By the time votes were tallied at about 3 a.m., Wednesday, it was evident the roughly $2.5 million high school district general fund levy had failed, 8,849 to 6,027.
“We are also naturally disappointed that the passage of the high school general fund levy fell short as it would have been pivotal in providing very needed resources in serving our students and staff,” Superintendent Micah Hill said in a statement. “We truly believe our high school students are worthy of a supportive community.”
If the high school district, whose voters include Kalispell and 13 outlying partner school districts, had approved the levy, the annual tax increase for owners of homes with assessed values of $300,00 would have been $60.89.
The $354,327 elementary district general fund levy fared better among voters, passing 3,762 to 3,331. Owners of homes with assessed values of $300,000 can expect annual taxes to increase by $20.11.
General fund levies cover a broad range of day-to-day costs related to educating students and operating and maintaining facilities. This includes teacher salaries, textbooks and supplies, utilities and technology, for example. General fund levies, once approved, are typically permanent.
“We are grateful to our community for their continued support of the elementary general fund levy and appreciate all those who voted," Hill said in a statement. "This is a great reminder to us that our community values and supports the educational efforts for our elementary students and KPS views you as a partner in educating our children.”
IN THE Olney-Bissell School District, voters passed a 15-year building reserve levy that will generate about $53,053 a year, or a total of approximately $795,795, to fund facility and infrastructure improvements. The measure passed on a 184 to 144 vote, per the preliminary results.
The owner of a home with an assessed value of $300,000 can expect an annual tax increase of $52.65 with the levy’s approval.
The building reserve levy will be used to fund improvement projects, including installing a new septic system, replacing the existing school building roof cover and excavation work to place a modular building on site. The modular building will be bought with Covid-relief funding and will add two classrooms. Any remaining levy funding will be used to replace exterior doors on the school and repair fencing.
Olney-Bissell Principal Trevor Dahlman said he was grateful for the community’s support.
“Our septic system is 40 years old,” Dahlman said while pointing to the growth in employees and the student population.
Dahlman said he understands the building’s roof, which is flat, had been previously tarred and was leaking this year. It will get a silicone coating.
The work is slated to begin in July with the goal of having it finished by the start of the next school year.
“We’re super excited,” Dahlman said.
WHITEFISH SCHOOL District voters handily approved a $231,766 general fund levy request with 64.13% of votes cast in favor of the measure in a 1,482 to 786 vote, according to unofficial results.
The owner of a home with an assessed value of $300,000 can anticipate annual taxes to increase by $10.23.
Cayuse Prairie School School District’s $300,000 general fund levy overwhelmingly failed with 588 voting against and 210 voting for the measure.
If the levy had passed, owners of homes with assessed values of $300,000 could have anticipated annual taxes to have increased by $161.64.
Following are preliminary results from school election night Tuesday. Results are unofficial until they are canvassed by each respective school board.
Trustee, elementary district — two three-year terms
Scott Warnell: 3,798
Jinnifer Mariman: 3,538
Shaun Pandina: 1,844
Jesse Shulz: 1,651
Patrick Claven: 842
Trustee, high school district — one three-year term
Krista Buls: 1,085
Will Hiatt: 804
Elementary district general fund levy
High school district general fund levy
Ballots mailed: 43,511
Ballots cast: 15,098
Building reserve levy
Ballots mailed: 919
Ballots cast: 328
Elementary general fund levy
Trustee — Three three-year terms.
Jerrie Boksich 1,884
Katie Clarke 1,806
Shannon Hanson 1,588
Judy Hessellund 449
Registered voters: 12,222
Ballots cast: 2,311
Trustee election — Two three-year terms
Gary Anderson 144
Patrick Lundie 98
Michael Younger 75
Terri Kissane 56
Patrick Kissane 30
Registered voters: 969
Ballots cast: 208
Two three-year terms.
Amanda Chin 257
Nicholas Blanch 197
Chloe Christiana 135
One one-year term
Kristina Stratton 119
Madison Crevier 106
Melissa Blanch 84
Ballots mailed: 1,455
Ballots cast: 318
General fund levy
Trustee election — Two three-year terms
Kyle Heinecke 433
Tyler Hash 389
Peter Kirmer 302
Ballots mailed: 2,008
Ballots cast: 809
Trustee election — Three openings for three-year terms
Keri Hill 1,813
Barbara Riley 1,516
Megan Upton 1,501
TJ Middlesworth 1,473
Jonathan Foust 942
Ballots mailed: 10,167
Ballots cast: 2,737
Trustee election — Two openings for three-year terms
Matt Cottle 195
Brooke Johnston 151
Cassie Kleffner 143
Registered voters: 1,418
Ballots cast: 489
Reporter Hilary Matheson may be reached at 758-4431 or email@example.com