By Jerome Tharaud/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
Voters approved elementary and high school building reserve measures for Havre Public Schools on Tuesday, and elected a newcomer to the school board.
The election of the three candidates running for three open seats - two from Havre elementary school District 16 and one from the outlying districts of High School District A - came as no surprise.
Incumbent Judy Bricker will keep her seat on the board for another three-year term, as will high school trustee Aileen Couch, who represents the Cottonwood and Davey districts.
Newcomer Todd Hanson is the only change to the makeup of the board. He will take the seat held by incumbent Dave Milam, who did not seek re-election.
Hanson, 44, is a professor of education and social sciences at Stone Child College.
"I really think that as a professor of education, I can bring a classroom perspective to the board," Hanson said this morning. "If anything, maybe I've got a big picture perspective on things, not only from an administrative perspective, but also an instructional perspective."
Hanson said he is also particularly interested in focusing on issues of race and poverty facing the school district.
Bricker received 484 votes and Hanson received 451. Couch received votes from 45 of the 58 voters who participated from Cottonwood District 57. None of the 31 registered voters from Davey District 12 voted in the high school election.
Turnout was lower than normal, but there was an unusually high showing of support for the building reserve measures among those who did vote, Havre Public Schools Superintendent Kirk Miller said this morning.
The elementary building reserve passed 429-127, or with 77 percent of the vote. Voters approved a mill levy over three years to raise $550,000 to replace the heating and ventilation system at Lincoln-McKinley Primary School - about $185,000 per year. That's $35,000 per year more than the last three-year project to complete the heating system at Sunnyside Intermediate School.
The high school building reserve levy passed 444-168, a margin of 73 percent, according to unofficial results. The levy will raise $740,000 over four years. The money will be used to install new windows and insulation at Havre High School, renovate Blue Pony Stadium and refurbish the high school auditorium. The $185,000-per-year levy will mean an annual increase of $20,000 after the last five-year project to put a sloped roof on the high school.
"That's a strong endorsement," Miller said. "We feel fortunate if there's 65 percent approval."
He added that the Great Falls levies passed with about 63 percent of the vote on Tuesday.
About 12 percent of the 5,116 registered voters - 621 - voted Tuesday, Miller said. That is slightly lower than the 15 percent turnout in 2001. In 2002 about 20 percent of the voters turned out to vote, considered an unusually high turnout.
Miller attributed Tuesday's turnout to bad weather and the fact that there was no general fund mill levy. He also said he believes the community understands the district's construction plans, so the turnout is an implicit mandate to go ahead.
Miller said it would be about a year before the district would begin to collect the money generated by mill levies, and that work would probably not begin for three years.
In the meantime, he said, the district would begin arranging for engineering and architectural plans. "So when the money is there, we'll be ready to go," he said.
Other school districts in the area also held elections on Tuesday. Here are the unofficial results.
Davey Elementary District 12: Incumbent Violet Davey was elected with all eight of the votes cast. She ran unopposed. The general fund levy of $3,480 passed 8-0.
Box Elder School District 13-G: Incumbents Barbara L. Friede and Jean Butler will keep their seats for another three years. Butler received 53 of the 143 total votes cast, and Friede received 50 votes. There were no levies.
Cottonwood District 57: Newcomer Roy Gerhart beat incumbent Blake Borst for a one-year term, and incumbent Bev Peterson beat Kevin Maruska for a three-year term, the Hill County superintendent of schools office said this morning. No numbers were available this morning. There was no mill levy.
Rocky Boy School Districts 87J-L: Incumbent Ted E. Whitford and newcomer Duane Gopher were elected to three-year terms out of a six-candidate field. Whitford received 58 of the 252 votes cast, and Gopher received 49. There were no levies.
KG Elementary School District 88: The general fund mill levy of $16,698 passed by a vote of 96-12. The building reserve of $50,000 passed by a vote of 89-17. No trustee seats were open for election this year.
KG High School District H: The general fund mill levy of $60,385 passed by a vote of 115-12. The building reserve of $50,000 passed 112-13. Incumbent Mitzi Dees ran opposed for one seat, and won by acclamation without being on the ballot.
Blue Sky Schools District K: Incumbent Todd Langel ran unopposed for a three-year term and was elected with 99 votes. The K-12 general fund mill levy of $73,286 passed 95-20.
Joplin-Inverness School District 29-28J: Newcomer Larry Wood ran unopposed and won the one open seat with 151 votes. The K-12 general fund levy of $264,907 passed 127-36.
Chinook School District 10: Incumbent Kraig Hansen ran unopposed and received 219 votes. In the outlying high school district of Lloyd, Mike Copenhaver ran unopposed and received eight votes. In the outlying high school district of Zurich, Jeannie Powell beat Colleen Overcast 28-27. The general fund elementary mill levy of $26,256 passed 190-60. The high school general fund mill levy of $21,605 passed 232-88. The K-12 building reserve of $125,000 over five years passed 206-114.
Big Sandy School districts 11 and 2: The elementary general fund levy of $6,250 passed 125-16. The high school technology acquisition levy of $36,000 passed 136-25. Incumbents Thad Willis and Laura Boyce ran unopposed for trustee seats and won without being placed on the ballot.
Results from other area schools were not available this morning.