KALISPELL - There was good and bad news for the Kalispell School District Tuesday night.
The elementary school levy passed but the high school levy did not.
Voters approved the $350,000 levy request for the elementary district that will go towards basic operations such as safety and maintenance.
A high school levy has not passed in the district since 2007 and this year was no different as the $2.5 million request failed.
Only 15,000 ballots were counted out of over 43,000 sent out — a 34% voter turnout.
"You know, we were disappointed in the turnout. But we are thankful for the people who did come out and vote for us. And now the difficult part comes. Now we have to decide how we're going to cut the budget. We've always said people come first students, teachers, you know, staff comes first. But this one is going to hurt. we've trimmed a lot. And now we have some really tough decisions. You know, anything's on the chopping block," said KPS Board Chair Sue Corigan.
Corrigan adds they will begin discussing the budget on Friday and will continue their push for the high school levy next year.
Outgoing Kalispell Public Schools Superintendent Micah Hill sent an email to MTN News that stated in part:
We are grateful to our community for their continued support of the elementary general fund levy and appreciate all those who voted. This is a great reminder to us that our community values and supports the educational efforts for our elementary students and KPS views you as a partner in educating our children.
We are also naturally disappointed that the passage of the high school general fund levy fell short as it would have been pivotal in providing very needed resources in serving our students and staff. We truly believe our high school students are worthy of a supportive community.
We have always believed that strong schools are a byproduct of a strong community. Everyone benefits when our schools are able to provide our students with the best possible educational experience. We are committed to being conscientious stewards of our resources and honoring the tax dollars that support us. We are very proud that our schools are an integral and vibrant part of our thriving community. On behalf of KPS, I want to genuinely thank those that voted in support of our schools.