BIGFORK — Voters approved a pair of school general levies for the elementary and high school in Bigfork on Tuesday.
Taxpayers in the Bigfork School District voted in favor of the elementary school general levy by a narrow margin of 30 votes, 793 to 763.
A high school general levy passed by a slimmer margin, of 25 votes, 1012 to 987.
The two general fund levies add up to $603,000 in additional funding for the school district.
Bigfork superintendent Matt Jensen said funding from the levies will go toward giving staff a much-needed increase in salaries and benefits. Jensen says the district has fallen behind other area-schools in paying teacher salary and benefits because of lack of funding.
“They want the lion share of the levy contributions to go to salaries and benefits for our staff, then negotiations still have to happen, but I think it puts the trustees in a very welcome position to actually be able to go into negotiations with some funds this time and put those toward salaries and benefits for our staff,” said Jensen.
Jensen said the district made staff and curriculum cuts in recent years due to lack of funds.
He said the two approved levies help ensure education remains a top priority in Bigfork for the coming years.
Jensen thanks Bigfork voters for their financial support during hard times due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The current situation with the pandemic and what everyone is going through on a personal level and on a business level, to still get the support in this community to pass a levy to fully fund our schools is incredibly humbling and very honoring to our students and staff, and we’re super appreciative,” said Jensen.
Owners of homes valued at $200,000 can anticipate an annual tax increase of just under $50 , if you live in both districts.