Kalispell voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected four proposed levies that would have funded safety and technology infrastructure in the Kalispell Public Schools.
The failed levies marked a defeat for the district in its efforts to bolster programs that fall outside of traditional funding mechanisms and signaled a reluctance by voters across the Flathead Valley to pass school bonds and levies. The Kalispell results came in shortly after Whitefish voters rejected a $33.7 million bond that would have expanded the city’s high school and athletic complex.
The Kalispell Public Schools elementary district safety levy failed by 1,012 votes, with 2,839 votes in favor and 3,851 against. The elementary district technology levy failed by 1,115 votes, with 2,749 votes in favor and 3,864 against.
Levies for Kalispell’s two high schools failed even more dramatically, following historical trends that have shown voters’ reluctance to pass levies and bonds at the high school level. The Kalispell Public Schools have not succeeded in passing a high school levy since 2007.
The high school district safety levy failed by 4,012 votes, with 5,174 in favor and 9,186 against. The high school district technology levy failed by 3,894 votes, with 5,258 in favor and 9,152 against.
The safety levies in the elementary and high school districts were set to fund cyber security infrastructure, School Resource Officers, mental health counselors, coordinated emergency response systems and a district-wide suicide prevention specialist. The technology levies would have covered up-to-date classroom technology for teachers and students. Without levies, many safety and technology programs must be funded through the district’s limited general fund.
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