It’s the week we traditionally vote for school board members and annual levies to support our public schools, but if voters in our unscientific Question of the Week poll had their way, the vote wouldn’t take place until next month.

Last week we asked, “should school board and levy elections be moved from May to June to coincide with the primary election date?” As of late Friday afternoon, our online poll had received 167 votes from those who believe the school elections should be moved to June to coincide with the primary election date, and only 25 votes from those who think the school elections should stay in the first week of May.

Regardless of when the school elections take place, it’s in all of our interest to vote. In that case, that means getting out to the polls tomorrow and making selections for school board and for proposed levy increases for elementary and high schools.

Here’s some of the comments we received on the question from those who took a moment to share their thoughts:

- “No. With the exception of the dropout creep, which is cyclical, the Helena community consensus is that its school system is doing a fine job. Moving the election date dilutes the heavy pragmatic teacher May vote allowing a larger politically partisan June vote. While there is evidence of the wisdom of groups, one needs to consider which groups are wise. Ask not which group is the more egalitarian but which is the more informed. An election date change will save money but will sink scholarship.”

- “Absolutely! Public schools exist only because of tax revenues that to a large extent come from local taxpayers. The simple reason that school administrators are so reluctant to consolidate school elections with primary elections is fear, not, as they allege, any insurmountable challenges of deferring for one month their final approval of budgets and contracts. What are they so afraid of? High voter turnouts? If schools must depend on low voter turnouts to pass their proposed levies and pad the board, we’re in deep trouble.”

- “Yes, why not? It seems like a no-brainer to me, unless someone can find a good reason not to.”

(6) comments

Auntie Lib

And when do we hold the school elections in odd-numbered years when there is no primary election? Great thinking, guys.

Rep Mike Miller HD84

I submitted HB 242 that would have moved the Primary election from June to May to coincide with the school elections. It is my understanding that holding the school elections in June is too late due to some budgetary constraints and issues. The bill seemed to have broad citizen support but it died in the House State Administration Committee.


School elections need to be held in may, oftentimes trustees hold off as long as possible during legislature years so that they can have the best picture of their financial condition. If they wait until June, I believe that all tenured and non-tenured teachers are automatically rehired. If a board has to run a levy, and it was done in June, the staff would already have been hired, and if the levy went down the district would be in dire straits. Seems to me that it would make sense to have primary elections and school elections the same day, as early in May as possible, but late enough for the legislature to be done with the budget.

Auntie - School elections are held every year if there are trustee positions open and/or there is a voted levy. If there are no opposed trustee elections and the district has opted not to run an election, the election can be cancelled by a proclamation of the board.


I say the will of the people should prevail. The tax payer is the one who has the hassle of running around voting. The School Districts can change to adjust to what the "boss" wants. After all the School district is spending the money that is provided by the tax payer,"boss". I don't care what adjustments the bureacracy has to make, make em to accomodate the voters. The idea of more voters is great. The more the merrier. Power to the People. We have to get America Right.


Others have pointed out the budget considerations. Here's another...

School board elections are nonpartisan. Primaries are partisan elections.


[quote]goldfishcastle said: ".......School board elections are nonpartisan. Primaries are partisan elections. "[/quote]

NOT!!! school board elections are strictly partisan. the only difference is the candidates don't have to have an R or D by their name on the ballot.

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