Havre Public Schools would usually spend this time of year gearing up for an election, for trustees and a possible mill levy, but not this year.
After filings closed last week for the three trustee seats up for vote this year, only two people had filed, incumbents Aileen Couch and Harvey Capellen.
The other seat, currently held by former Board of Trustees Chair Lee Christianson, will have to be appointed by the existing board.
Christianson decided not to run for re-election.
The appointment would last one year, then the appointee would have to run for the rest of the three-year term next spring.
District Clerk Mike Arnold said that the board will have to decide how to choose Christianson’s replacement at its meeting next Tuesday, but people interested in the position can contact one of the current trustees.
Without trustees to
decide between, the only other reason the schools would call an election would be to request additional funds in a mill levy. But they’re not doing that this year, either.
“Our budget scenario is a little brighter on the elementary side, ” Superintendent Andy Carlson said. “I have a feeling that the high school will start growing here in the next few years, which will be nice to have the high school in a situation where we don’t have to have staff reductions every year (as we have for the past few years). ”
Carlson said that the high school side, District 16, is already at the levy limit for the current enrollment.
School officials could have requested a levy for the elementary district, District A, but a couple of factors have made them more financially confident.
The main reason the elementary district doesn’t need additional levies is the spike in kindergarten enrollment this year, which surprised the district, but has now earned the district more state funding.
A new agreement between the distinct high school and elementary districts have given Havre schools a little financial flexibility, in the ability to share funds on utilities or supplies, which will help as well.
“We’re not doing a large amount, ” Carlson said, “but it does take some pressure off the high school. ”
Overall, however, Carlson is very pleased with the school’s financial situation, especially compared to some of the problems he sees his colleagues facing in other parts of the state.
“In all honesty, I’m quite thankful to be in Havre, ” Carlson said. “A lot of my peers are making some very difficult decisions. I’m grateful that, as a school district, we’re not having to make those kinds of decisions.
“I really appreciate how this community supports schools and continues to support schools. I feel very grateful. ”