To describe where new Billings school trustee candidates are needed, it’s simpler to say where they aren’t needed.
Only two of seven elementary seats won’t be up for election in May. One of those seats, District 1 that covers the area south of First Avenue North to the Yellowstone River and South Billings Boulevard, needs new candidates this week. Dawn Achten, the only person ever to hold that seat, resigned recently after years of service. Applications to replace Achten are due by 4 p.m. Friday to the District Clerk in Lincoln Center. Only voters registered in Trustee District 1 for at least one year are eligible to fill this vacancy.
Anyone interested in applying for the vacant position in District 1 to replace Trustee Dawn Achten should submit a current resume with at least three references and a letter of interest that answers these questions:
• Why do you want to be a School District 2 trustee?
• What education and practical experience do you have that would qualify you to understand and oversee the school district budget?
• Are you willing and able to devote time to evening and daytime meetings? Are you willing to spend time reading about and learning about best practices in school board leadership and school district management? Do you think this is important?
• In general terms, what do you think are the primary functions and responsibilities of a school board?
• What is your understanding of the key issues facing School District 2 today? What do you think the role of the school board should be in addressing these issues?
Applications may be mailed to the District Clerk, Room 209, 415 North 30th St., Billings 59101, e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
mt.us or faxed to 281-6179.
Residents (registered voters) of the Heights, downtown, central Billings and the West End south of Rimrock Road may file for four other school board seats that will be open in May. The questions that the Trustee District 1 replacement candidates are asked to answer this week are good questions for everyone who is considering running for any school board seat. On May 4, mail ballots will be counted to elect trustees in Districts 3, 5 and 7 for three-year terms. Trustee Districts 1 and 2 will elect a candidate for one-year terms.
To get their names on the May 4 ballot, candidates must file no later than March 25 at the Election Office on the first floor of the Yellowstone County Courthouse. The forms needed to file for election may be obtained from the Election Office at the County Courthouse or from room 210 at the Lincoln Center.
Typically, few people have filed for Billings School Board. It is a big job that requires at least several hours of work weekly and the pay is zero.
Yet trustees are vital to our local public schools. Trustees set policy for the education of more than 15,500 children each year. They set priorities for the limited resources they have to provide quality education to students from kindergarten through high school.
For citizens who care about the education of children, there’s no more important public office than school trustee. If you want to make sure children across Billings will be able to attend neighborhood schools, the school board is the place to start working. If you want to see fewer students dropping out, get involved with the school board. If you want Billings students to get education that prepares them to succeed in postsecondary study and in the world of work, begin with the school board.
If you can make the time to serve, have a passion for excellent public education and can answer the questions listed above, please consider serving as a Billings school trustee.
For more information, contact District Clerk Leo Hudetz at 281-5115.