I don’t know how long it’s been since we actually had an election for the school board trustees. The ballots stashed in Trego School’s records date back to the 1900s. It may be that children have been born, graduated from college, certified to teach, and been granted tenure in the time since Trego’s last election. If the district doesn’t get two candidates to run, a single candidate will win “by acclamation.” Eureka already has 4 candidates running for two positions – and the LCHS board has Raymond Flanagan running for the Fortine position unopposed. Since five of the high school board positions are filled by Eureka Elementary trustees, this election cover three of the seven high school trustees. Fortine has three 3-year terms up this year, and no filings yet.
Nothing personal – but we need to get back in the habit of having elections . . . and the school district is the place to start. To run for school board, you need to be a registered voter in the school district and get your form filled out and notarized by March 23. On the other hand, if you miss getting the form in by the 23rd, you can still file as a write-in candidate until March 30 – and, in districts where we’re not accustomed to an actual election, a write-in candidate probably has as good a chance as a candidate whose name is on the ballot.
My term runs out in a little more than two years. I’d like to be the last school board member elected by “acclamation.” The lack of elections does not improve the quality of our schools.
Here are some of the laws governing school elections, the whole list is available at leg.mt.gov
Regular School Election Day And Special School Elections — Limitation — Exception
20-20-105. Regular school election day and special school elections — limitation — exception. (1) Except as provided in subsection (5), the first Tuesday after the first Monday in May of each year is the regular school election day.
(2) Except as provided in subsections (4) and (5), a proposition requesting additional funding under 20-9-353 may be submitted to the electors only once each calendar year on the regular school election day.
(3) Subject to the provisions of subsection (2), other school elections may be conducted at times determined by the trustees.
(4) In the event of an unforeseen emergency occurring on the date scheduled for the funding election pursuant to subsection (2), the district will be allowed to reschedule the election for a different day of the calendar year. As used in this section, “unforeseen emergency” has the meaning provided in 20-3-322(5).
(5) In years when the legislature meets in regular session or in a special session that affects school funding, the trustees may order an election on a date other than the regular school election day in order for the electors to consider a proposition requesting additional funding under 20-9-353.
20-20-106. Poll hours. (1) The polls for any school election in any district shall open not later than noon. The trustees may order the polls to open earlier, but no earlier than 7 a.m.
(2) If the school election is held on the same day as an election held by a political subdivision and at the same polling place pursuant to 13-1-305, the polls must be opened and closed at the times required for the school election.
(3) If the school election is held on the same day as a general or primary election, the polls must be opened and closed at the times required for the general or primary election under 13-1-106.
(4) Once opened, the polls must be kept open continuously until 8 p.m., except that whenever all the registered electors at any poll have voted, the poll must be closed immediately.
Election Judges — Qualifications — Training
20-20-109. Election judges — qualifications — training. (1) Election judges must be qualified registered electors of the school district in which they serve.
(2) An election judge may not be:
(a) the candidate;
(b) an ascendant, descendant, brother, or sister of a candidate; or
(c) the spouse of the candidate or of any of the individuals listed in subsection (2)(b).
(3) School election judges must meet the training and certification requirements of 13-4-203.
There are some other laws available, but these are the significant ones.