In a much talked about mill levy request by Havre Public Schools on Tuesday's ballot, voters narrowly approved a $44,552 mill levy for the high school district in the closest vote of the night, 642 to 629. "This is the closest the mill levy has ever been," said Shad Huston, the current board of trustees chairperson, calling that vote the most important one of the election. "I hope that the district can gain the trust back." Huston, a one-term incumbent, lost the trustee election with 455 votes to newcomer Mark Magelssen, who received 932 votes, and fellow incumbent Norman Proctor, who received 711 votes. Cindy Erickson ran unopposed for a one-year term. Huston said the board lost some trust from the community after a decision to accept Dave Mahon's resignation from the superintendent's post after less than seven months on the job. "We as a board still stand behind that decision," he said. "We would have loved to have been able to share more," but legally were not able to do so, he added. Even with the loss, Huston said he felt good after the results were announced. "I am very appreciative of being given a chance to serve on the board," he said. "I feel very comfortable in the direction the district's going right now," he said. "This is a great district and people should be proud that their kids are going to Havre Public Schools," he added. "I'm very grateful that it turned out the way it did," Interim Superintendent Andy Carlson said. Part of his job now is talking with the people who voted no and to build trust in the district, he said. The levy money will be used to freeze the high school budget at its current level of $4,684,518. Due to decreasing enrollment numbers, funding from the state and federal governments wasn't as high as needed to maintain that budget. High enrollment numbers in the elementary district caused a funding increase of $579,000, and no mill levy was requested this year. Over the next year, Carlson said, he hopes to prove that the district is responsible. One of the ways to do that is through student achievement coming out of the schools and its programs. "Our kids routinely demonstrate excellence, and I would certainly hope that continues," he said. Carlson praised the trustees for running for the position to serve the community. "I'm not sure people really understand the amount of time" trustees give, he said. "It's a big job, and we appreciate what you do," he told candidates before he announced the results. Re-elected trustee Proctor also thanked voters for their support of the mill levy. "I'm really happy that the levy appears to have passed," he said before the validated results were announced. The board was a good one when he was first elected six years ago, he said, and the new one will also be a good one. "That's the great thing about our system," he said. He thanked voters for turning out in large numbers. "That shows they're paying attention and they care, and that's a good thing for our community," he said. "I think it means people are paying attention," Carlson said about the high turnout of 1,275 voters. Magelssen, who works for Hill County Electric Cooperative, was busy working to restore power and was unavailable for comment.
Mill levy squeaks by, Proctor, Magelssen win
Published: Wednesday, May 5th, 2010
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