By Tim Leeds
The proposed high school mill levy for the Havre Public Schools was approved in Tuesday's election 610 to 244, 71.4 percent in favor and 28.6 percent opposed, with 15 percent voter turnout in the election.
The levy approves additional property taxes totaling $174,218, but due to legislation passed by the 2001 Montana Legislature, only $125,981 of that will need to be used to meet the district's goal of freezing the budget at last year's level.
Superintendent Kirk Miller said the overwhelming victory of the levy shows the strong support the community has for the school district. He said it also indicates voter satisfaction that the Board of Trustees and the district are responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars.
Ric Floren, the district's director of operations, said the passage of the levy means they can go forward with the approved plans for restructuring the district under budgets reduced by declining enrollments.
"Otherwise we would have been required to cut an additional $175,000," he said.
Incumbents Jim Heberly and Kathie Newell were confirmed trustees by acclamation at the school board meeting Tuesday night.
The K-12 levy at the Blue Sky Schools passed 111 to 26, 81 to 19 percent. It will increase local property taxes by $35,794, approximately 11 mills.
"This community traditionally has four out of every five votes in support of the schools and we're very appreciative of the support of the community," Superintendent Ellis Parry said.
Terry Hybner received 131 votes and incumbent Lyle Peterson 128 to win the two Blue Sky trustee positions.
The mill levy at the Cottonwood Elementary School passed with 32 votes for and five against, 86.5 to 13.5 percent. The levy will increase local property taxes by $10,917.59, approximately 3.94 mills.
The levy at the Davey Elementary School passed 12 to 2, 85.7 to 13.3 percent. Carol Gallagher was re-elected to her trustee position by 12 votes.
The elementary levy at the KG Schools election passed 115 to 13, with one void, 89.8 percent to 10.2 percent. The levy will increase local property taxes $114,532, 26.58 mills. Incumbent Dave Stevenson won the trustee position with 118 votes.
The K-12 special levy for the J-I Schools passed 152 to 51, 74.8 to 25.2 percent. It will raise local property taxes by $274,651, approximately 89 mills. Debra Miller received 173 votes and incumbent Craig Henke received 167 to win the two trustee positions.
At the Chester schools the elementary levy passed 260-116, 69.1 to 30.9 percent. The high school levy passed 271-135, 66.7 to 33.3 percent. The elementary levy will raise property taxes by $14,000, approximately 2.73 mills, and the high school by $27,776, approximately 5.01 mills.
Patricia Markuson received 259 votes and incumbent Dave Wicks 206 to win the two Chester trustee positions. Incumbent Marvin Wilson received 174 votes and Rob Laas received 62.
At the Chinook schools, the elementary building reserve passed 191 to 92, 67.5 to 32.5 percent. It will raise $25,000 per year for five years, totalling $125,000. The high school mill levy passed 230 to 116, 66.5 to 35.5 percent. Blanche Kellam won the high school trustee position for District 67 with 14 votes. Matt Crampton, with 202 votes, and Scott McIntosh, with 178, won the two Chinook trustee positions. Michael Bryson received 133 votes.
At the Zurich School, the elementary levy passed 30-14, 68.2 to 31.8 percent. It will raise local property taxes by $6,064.16, approximately 4 mills. LeAnna Johnson received 41 votes to win the trustee position.
At Bear Paw Elementary School the levy passed 15-0. It will raise property taxes by $3,030.35, approximately 2.38 mlls. Incumbent Gordon Young received 15 votes to retain his trustee position.
At the Big Sandy schools, the elementary levy passed 211-33, 86.5 to 14.5 percent. The high school levy passed 223-50, 81.7 to 18.3 percent. The elementary levy will increase property taxes by $11,494.10, approximately 2 mills, and the high school by $12,666.95, approximately 2 mills. Incumbents Gordon Moes received 226 votes and Randy Williams 232 votes to win the two trustee positions.
Results of the Rocky Boy trustee elections were not available at the time of printing.