By Amanda Eggert EBS Senior Editor

BIG SKY – Voters in the Big Sky School District yesterday approved a $110,110 general fund levy and a $541,730 five-year building reserve levy.

The general fund levy will be used for operating expenses and district maintenance, including additional staffing for the 2017-2018 school year. Big Sky School District Superintendant Dustin Shipman said the administration is looking to hire three teachers to split classes nearing state-mandated maximum enrollments, as well as a special education teacher.

The measure passed with 358 individuals voting for it and 294 opposed. With 652 responses of the 1,809 ballots mailed, voter participation was low in this election at 36 percent.

Last May, election turnout for an $830,000 building reserve levy to complete construction of Ophir Elementary was 57 percent. The lower turnout this year could be reflective of BSSD’s spring break. Ballots for this election were mailed April 18, the second day of the district’s weeklong break.

Gallatin County Election Administrator Charlotte Mills said 181 ballots were returned to the election office as undeliverable, meaning those individuals didn’t notify the office of a change of address or of an absence during the voting period.

The building reserve levy will replace the current five-year levy, which is expiring this year. It will provide $108,346 of funding per year, for five years, to fund facility maintenance and repairs, grounds maintenance and improvements, and equipment upgrades.

Specific projects identified for the funds include the installation of updated Internet cable and wiring throughout the high school, refurbishing parking lot asphalt and markings, security upgrades to exterior doors and carpet replacement at the high school gym entrance.

The building reserve levy passed 359-288.

Mills said these results are unofficial, as there are 25 provisional ballots that have not yet been counted. The election office is notifying voters who made an error on their ballot, including failure to provide a signature. Those voters have until 5 p.m. today to correct the issue.

Stacy Ossorio will join the Big Sky School District Board as a trustee. Ossorio, a local real estate broker, was the only person who filed for the position and she’ll take the school board seat that’s being vacated by Maggie Luchini.