By Tim Leeds/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
Hill County Superintendent of Schools Shirley Isbell has appointed the final member of the interim school board that will consolidate the Kremlin-Gildford and Blue Sky school districts.
The new member, Gildford Colony school board chair George Stahl, was the only person who expressed interest in the position, Isbell said. Isbell said he will not be able to vote, and will represent the outlying elementary districts of Cottonwood and the Gildford Colony on high school issues only.
"He has years and years of experience," Isbell said. "I expect he will be able to contribute to the decision-making process."
Stahl could not be reached for comment this morning.
The board has scheduled a meeting for Sept. 7 at KG High School in Gildford.
The consolidation of the two districts was approved by voters in both districts in an election June 22, after about two years of discussion.
The KG board had voted to end consolidation talks with Blue Sky in February 2003, but people in both districts revived the discussions earlier this year.
The other members of the interim board are Merlin Wolery of Rudyard, chair; Mitzi Dees of Kremlin, vice chair; JoHanna Kapperud of Gildford, Mike Lipp of Hingham and Lyle Petersen of Rudyard. Dees and Kapperud are members of the KG board and Lipp and Petersen are members of the Blue Sky board.
The interim board can plan but can take no official action until Jan. 1. All positions on the board will be up for election in May.
Dees said today she thinks Stahl will make a good addition to the board. His input will be important because it will give a voice to people from the outlying elementary districts that will send students to the high school, she added.
"They're the ones who pay part of the taxes that will go to the high school," she said. "I think input from a variety of sources will be important for the decisions that are made."
Wolery said he expects to work with Blue Sky Superintendent Terry Grant and KG Superintendent John Ballard next week to start drafting the agenda for the interim board's Sept. 7 meeting.
He said the board decided not to hold an August meeting because all board members are from farming families and would be involved in harvesting crops.
The board doesn't want to hurry into any decisions, he added.
"We're going to take our time to make the major decisions and look at issues very hard and decide what is best for the people in the districts and the students," Wolery said. "Those decisions can't be put off forever but it does need some time."
One of the issues Wolery expects to discuss in September is which community would best house the high school and junior high and which would be best for the elementary school. He said he hopes to tour the high school in Gildford during the September meeting.
Wolery said he expects the board to meet every month through the May election.
"Some things have to be decided and we have to make some difficult decisions, but in many cases they won't be any more difficult than we make them," he said. "I'm optimistic we can make it into a form we can all live with."