Kaminski remains focused on standing up for her beliefs

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Marguerite Kaminski is running for re-election on the Whitefish School Board after joining the board in 2015.

Marguerite Kaminski doesn’t mind being the odd one out on Whitefish School Board matters.

In fact, that resolve to stand up for what she believes in is something she’s proud of.

“I’m not afraid to vote no, and I’m not afraid to vote yes, but I definitely like to stand up for what I believe,” Kaminski told the Pilot. “I don’t mind being the single juror on the jury that holds out or whatever the situation is.”

Kaminski is one of three candidates vying for two open seats on the Whitefish School Board. She and Ruth Harrison are running to retain their seats while Betsy Kohnstamm seeks her first term.

Kaminski joined the board in 2015 after an unsuccessful bid for trustee the year before. Kaminski went through the U.S. Air Force officer training program in 1973, and became a contracting officer, price analyst and contract negotiator, and later went on to study law. She has worked as a snowboard instructor, swim instructor, lifeguard, referee, served as a soccer and basketball coach, classroom volunteer, reading mentor, and substitute teacher.

She’s had five children go through the district and owns her own law practice in Whitefish.

Kaminski says the big priority for the district right now is seeing Muldown through.

She likened the board’s approach to a shotgun approach rather than a targeted, single rifle shot, and said she’s worried the district spreads itself too thin while big needs like Muldown need all the attention.

“I feel like we have way too much on our plate, and I admire people wanting to do all that, but for example, Muldown is the priority, has always been the priority. But then this Center for Sustainability and Entrepreneurship came up, and I felt like that’s an example of a distraction over there, when we should be focusing over here,” she said. “It’s great to support all these projects, but we have to be a little more selective.”

Following the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, in February, the issue of school safety has risen to the top of the nation’s concerns.

Kaminski says she likes the initiative of the community to tackle the issue and ensure the safety of Whitefish’s students, but she does feel like students here are already very safe.

“A quick response to an urgent situation is the best solution usually. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen,” she said. “I feel like our kids are very safe. Try going to school in Afghanistan, in Kabul, in other places in the world. That’s truly where there’s school safety issues. I love what we’ve done with the Quick Response Team and the Run, Lock, Fight training, I think that’s awesome and everyone should know those skills. Beyond that, I don’t think we have huge issues, in our area anyway.”

While Kaminski said she’s happy with the work the board has done, she does have some frustrations.

For one, she wishes she could see more attendance at regular school board meetings.

“Why don’t we have a lot more people showing up at the Muldown meetings, why don’t we have more people showing up for whatever decision is being made? When it’s a highly controversial personnel issue, lots of people show up,” she said.

Likewise, while she supports the district’s sustainability initiatives, Kaminski says it’s important that the district take that approach to spending as well.

“When they talk about sustainability with the Center for Sustainability and Entrepreneurship, you have to think about fiscal responsibility and sustainability too, I think that’s huge,” she said. “I’d love to get the biggest bang for the buck. I’d love to save taxpayers as much money as I possibly can. We’re a pretty lucrative community, and we seem to always find money, but I want to make sure we have fiscal sustainability.”

There are three candidates seeking two positions for three-year terms on the board. Election Day is May 8. Voting is at the district office at Whitefish Middle School.

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