Voters select trustees, decide levy request

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Two seats on the Whitefish School Board and a levy request are up to the voters next week. Election Day is Tuesday, May 8.

Current Trustees Ruth Harrison and Marguerite Kaminski are running for re-election while Betsy Kohnstamm seeks her first term on the board.

Harrison was first elected to the board in 2006. Harrison has a degree in English and has worked as a teacher and a rancher for most of her life. She served eight years on the Pleasant Valley School Board as a trustee and clerk for the school as well.

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.

Kohnstamm helped found the nonprofit North Valley School of Music, which celebrated 20 years last summer. She’s lived in Whitefish for 31 years and has been involved in various school-related functions, teaching as a reading specialist for 10 years in the Columbia Falls School District and also serving as administrator and vice president of the board for the Montessori School in Whitefish. She attended Middlebury College in Vermont for her undergraduate degree and obtained a masters degree in curriculum and instruction from the Columbia Teacher’s College in New York. She and her husband Dan, who retired last year as the high school librarian in Whitefish, have had two kids go through Whitefish Schools.

Voters will also decide a request for $95,000 general fund levy in the elementary district, which would raise the 2018-19 maximum budget for the elementary and high school districts from $13.3 million to $13.8 million.

The estimated taxpayer impact for homes with a taxable valuation of $100,000 would be about $2, and for a $200,000 home about $4. However, state legislation passed in the previous session increased the guaranteed tax base reimbursement for each district, so taxpayers may actually see a slight tax decrease even with the levy request, district business director Danelle Reisch said.

The increased budget would allow adding an eighth-grade and a fifth-grade teacher as well as a music technology and choir director position.

Voting takes place at the district office at Whitefish Middle School. For more information, call the district office at 862-8640.

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