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School reserve levy passes

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Results of Rural Fire District election in

By Amanda Eggert EBS Staff Writer

BIG SKY – The Big Sky School District will receive $830,000 to finish Ophir Elementary facilities following the passage of a building reserve fund levy.

As of 9:30 a.m. this morning, 746 ballots had been counted and 55 percent of voters in the district were in favor of funding the levy while 45 percent were opposed. Ballots for the measure were due at the Gallatin County Election Office yesterday evening.

These results are unofficial. Voters who filled out their ballots improperly – by forgetting to sign them, for instance – will be notified and have until 5 p.m. today to appear in the Gallatin County Election Office to correct the issue with their ballot.

A similar measure was put before Big Sky School District voters in March 2015. That measure was defeated, with 57 percent of voters opposed to it. Turnout was lower in that election with 660 ballots counted in 2015.

In May 2013, voters approved a $10.2 million bond to fund the purchase of two lots and the construction of Ophir’s new building. Problems with soil at the site led to at least $800,000 in unanticipated construction expenses to shore up an unstable foundation. As a result, there was a budget shortfall and parts of the school have remained unfinished since it opened last September.

There were also two open school board trustee positions in this election, and Loren Bough and Whitney Littman were the only declared candidates. Bough is currently the board chair, and this will be Littman’s first term. Laura Michel’s three-year term is complete and she opted not to run for reelection.

The results for the Rural Fire District elections are in as well. Four candidates ran for two open trustee positions. Renae Schumacher and Carol L. Collins received the most votes, garnering 436 and 325, respectively. Bart Mitchell was next with 244 and Matt Dodd received 205.

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