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Big Decision: Ophir and Ennis schools count votes May 8

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By Taylor Anderson, Assistant Editor

Some candidates may already be in
the lead via mail-in ballots, but an
in-person election will determine the
results of the May 8 election for the
Big Sky and Ennis school boards. The
votes will be counted that same day.

The Big Sky School Board has six
candidates running for three open
positions: incumbent Barbara Rowley
is being challenged by Ty Moline
for the two-year trustee position,
and Richard Lindell, Jolene Romney,
Kristen Ramirez and Matt Jennings
are all running for two, three-year

In Ennis, Bill Clark, Craig George, Josh
Vujovich and Chad Coffman are running
for two, three-year seats.

The Ennis School Board has been battered
by scandals involving its superintendent,
Doug Walsh, and also the
board’s decision to forgo a public vote
to raise funds for its new building.

Madison County voters, including
those from developments at the
resorts in Big Sky and the Yellowstone
Club, can vote in the Ennis election. It
doesn’t include any levies.

In Gallatin County’s Big Sky election,
the vote will include two, small levies
for technology and a building reserve.

The 4.48-mill building reserve aims
to raise $541,730 within five years
for “facility maintenance and repair,
grounds maintenance and improvements,
and equipment purchases and
upgrades,” according to the notice
released by the school.

About 45 percent of that fund would
pay the school’s on-staff maintenance
team, which provides most of the
maintenance and repairs. The other 55
percent of the proposed fund would
pay for new equipment and scheduled
annual maintenance, said Sue Becker,
Big Sky School District’s business
manager. The money would not fund
any modulars or other new building
construction, she said.

The .72-mill technology fund levy
would be added to the current
2.71 mills dedicated to IT staff and
maintaining technology equipment.
The increase is permanent, meaning
there’s no timetable on when
it expires, but Becker said the mill
would be in place only as long as
necessary for keeping up with technology

The school has increased its technological
equipment and offerings for
students in recent years, Becker said.
Both mills, if passed, would
increase taxes on a home with
the market value of $200,000 by
$15.32 annually.

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