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Ballots went in the mail Friday for Bozeman School District elections, and they include requests for approval of property tax levies of $644,000 for elementary schools and $515,000 for high schools.

Voters should approve these requests.

Our schools have been through the roughest year in generations. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced educators to adopt new — and difficult — ways to educate our children.

It’s not been without controversy. Critics have been vocal in their objections to online education, which has stressed families and made education difficult for our children.

But school officials have done their best to balance those interests with safety considerations for students, staff and the community in general. Now they deserve our support in their quest to return to normalcy for the next school year.

The levies will translate into an estimated $4.24 for every $100,000 of a property’s market value for elementary schools and $2.82 for the high schools.

But decreases in debt service for existing school construction bonds will essentially wipe out those increases, and the net tax bill for schools should essentially be a wash.

And a decrease in elementary school enrollment due to the pandemic has allowed the district to put off planned construction of a new elementary school.

Approving the levies is the least we can do to maintain the quality of our schools.

Also on the ballot are candidates for three elementary school board seats and one high school seat.

For the elementary seats, incumbents Douglas Fischer and Gary Lusin are seeking re-election.

They are facing challengers LeiAnna Bertelsen, Jennifer A. Lammers, Anna Makarechian, Anna Shchemelinin, Cheryl Tusken and Lisa Weaver.

Incumbent Wendy Tage withdrew from the race last week citing personal reasons. Incumbent Sandra Wilson is running unopposed to represent rural areas on high school issues only.

Consult the Thursday, Friday and Saturday editions of the Chronicle for profiles of the candidates and their positions on the issues.

Bozeman voters have historically demanded the highest quality education possible from their schools and the schools have delivered with consistently high standardized test scores compared to the other largest school districts in the state. Let’s continue that tradition.

Fill out your ballot and return it by mail or in person by 8 p.m. on May 4 to the County Election Office during business hours at 311 West Main, Room 210.


Editorial Board

  • Mark Dobie, publisher
  • Michael Wright, managing editor
  • Bill Wilke, opinion page editor
  • Richard Broome, community member
  • Renee Gavin, community member
  • Charles Rinker, community member
  • Will Swearingen, community member
  • Angie Wasia, community member

To send feedback on editorials, either leave a comment on the page below or write to citydesk@dailychronicle.com.

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Editorial Board

  • Mark Dobie, publisher
  • Michael Wright, managing editor
  • Bill Wilke, opinion page editor
  • Richard Broome, community member
  • Renee Gavin, community member
  • Will Swearingen, community member
  • Angie Wasia, community member

To send feedback on editorials, write to citydesk@dailychronicle.com.