Kalispell 2023 School Board Trustee Candidate Profile: Shaun Pandina

Shaun Pandina is an entrepreneur who grew up in the Flathead Valley and has four children in the Kalispell schools.

By Denali Sagner

Editor’s Note: Shaun Pandina answered the Beacon’s questions via email and did not speak to the Beacon in a live interview. These email responses have been edited for clarity.

Flathead Beacon: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your relationship to the Kalispell Public Schools?  

Shaun Pandina: My name is Shaun Pandina. I am running for SD5 Kalispell Public Schools Elementary Trustee. I live in the Elementary district. I am a Columbia Falls Graduate who has lived in the Flathead for over 30 years. Since a young age I have been an entrepreneur. I have started multiple successful businesses even selling a few along the way. To get to know me better please visit my website ShaunPandina.com

FB: Do you have children in the school district? 

SP: Yes I have 4 children and they all attended KPS. 

FB: Why did you decide to run for the Kalispell school board?

SP: As a Trustee I will listen to the parents, students, and taxpayers in my district. I will carry their voice forward in the decisions I make, as well as in the way I vote. For example the average Kalispell resident who owns property in the elementary district pays over 60% of their tax bill to education. I take that fact very seriously. I look forward to streamlining the budget so that the district will not have to continue raising taxes to fund their budget. The school has a large budget which naturally increases as new student enrollment and property values increase, my experience in business makes me qualified to stretch dollars and balance budgets. If elected I will request to be on the finance committee as well as the policy committee. 

The Beacon could not independently verify that the average Kalispell resident who owns property pays over 60% of their tax bill to education. Pandina provided the Beacon with his own tax bill, which shows him paying 70.85% of his property taxes to education.

FB: What will your main priorities be if elected? 

SP: When I am elected, students will be prioritized, parents will be prioritized, tax payers will be prioritized, ethics will be prioritized. When I am elected, accountability will be prioritized. 

FB: What do you think are some changes that need to happen in the district? 

SP: I am a parent who has been active in attending board meetings. I have noticed that not many other parents are involved at this level. I think a positive change would be helping to find better ways to include parents and encourage them to participate. It is important for the board to know what parents think. They need to know how parents feel about what their students are being taught. I believe bringing parents and educators together will ultimately equal more successful students. The students are the future of our country, their success is our success. 

FB: What are some things you think the board has done well, or some policies and programs you’d like to see continued in the district? 

SP: I have attended numerous board meetings over the last 3 years. The board has done well supporting the quality of education as well as staffing qualified teachers in KPS. I think that students are susceptible to various temptations that affect their ability to graduate. This board through the Linderman Educational Center has helped those students graduate. Without LEC these students may have fallen through the cracks and ended up in the world without a diploma. Creating a huge hurdle for their future success.

FB: Anything else you’d like to add? 

SP: Rapid advancement of technology in education is upon us. It is important to have ethical and responsible policies with regard to the use of technology in education. For example should we or should we not allow AI artificial intelligence to be used in the education process? I would love to hear what people think on this or any other topic email me anytime at [email protected].