The clock’s ticking fast toward the deadline to run for a seat on Butte’s school board. The deadline is 5 p.m. today for the two open seats.

Fortunately, two candidates have filed, so the situation isn’t as desperate as it appeared to be earlier this week when just one candidate had committed. And both candidates who have stepped up so far would bring a wealth of experience and community dedication to the board: Butte Public Library Director Lee Phillips and Butte Community Health Center CEO Cindy Stergar.

For anyone else who might be interested in running, filing information is available at the school district office, 111 N. Montana St. Candidates must be registered voters in the district.

Besides the simple filing form, potential candidates must also turn in a petition with  signatures of 20 other registered voters from the elementary district, which generally encompasses Butte proper and the outlying areas served by Butte grade schools. Ramsay, Melrose and Divide each have their own school boards.

School district Business Manager J.R. Richardson said he always encourages candidates to collect a few more than 20 signatures as a little insurance. The Butte-Silver Bow Clerk and Recorder’s Office must verify that all signatures represent currently

registered voters, and if there’s a glitch, the signature cannot be counted.

Applications and petitions are due at the clerk and recorder’s office on the second floor of the courthouse, 155 W. Granite St., by 5 p.m.

Neither of the incumbents is seeking re-election this time around. Dick Garlish is moving out of state, and Shain Wolstein said “it’s time to let somebody else step up and bring some new ideas to the board.”

Our thanks to the outgoing members, to the new candidates and to the current board trustees not up for re-election this year: Patti Hepola, chair, Kristen Rosa, vice chair, Rayelynn Connole, Nancy Gibson, David Kerr and Vikki O’Brien.

The school board is arguably the most important volunteer body in the community, and the challenges they face are never-ending, especially on the fiscal side with state funding tied to enrollment.

One of the best ways to show gratitude not only to the trustees but to all the hard-working folks in the district is to turn out and vote on school election day, which is Tuesday, May 4.

Besides electing new school board members, voters will be asked to support a $25,000 mill levy for Butte High School, but no additional local tax money for the elementary district. If approved, the measure would raise property taxes 85 cents per year on a $100,000 home. We’d call that money well spent on our community’s future.

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