Irony in superintendent search firm

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Former superintendent of Kalispell Schools Darlene Schottle will locally lead and interact with the Whitefish School Board to assist with the national search firm chosen to search for a new candidate to replace the current superintendent, Heather Davis Schmidt. I find this ironic.

Schottle would have been an excellent interim candidate the last time the school district was looking for a superintendent. At that time in 2015, the School District rushed into a decision to hire Davis Schmidt. In fact, the hiring of Schottle was one of the options back then.

The current Whitefish superintendent threw the board into a “tizzy” several times by stating she was leaving before the end of the term of her contract (more than once).

The Whitefish School District in the past has made decisions for personnel and projects that might have been far better decisions made more slowly with much more due consideration and debate.

We have had over reaching superintendent(s) with projects. For example, we have the Center for Sustainability at $2.7 million (originally was to be a $75,000 greenhouse, but outside interests drove the project above and beyond), and a new Muldown elementary school despite an old Muldown elementary school with many usable portions (a gym, classrooms, pods, etc). The onus now is on tearing down most of this building. The original Muldown project started as a simple traffic study. How do we get so far off course??

Some projects (among many others) pass with only School Board approval. Other projects, such as levy or bond proposals pass with voter approval. Many pass with mail-in ballots with voter support as low as a 10% turn out of all the registered voters in the district. All pass with consequential increased taxes to all tax payers.

Many of these projects have increased operations, utilities, and maintenance budgets that eat away at the overall school district budget. Remember salaries cover 90% of the district budget, and all other costs fall into 10% of the budget. New requirements for non-teaching personnel are created by these projects. They also take away valuable land for future uses.

Pennies do add up to dollars. $100 on a $100,000 home does add up to thousands of dollars of increases over time for taxpayers.

Perhaps we should consider hiring Schottle, a local proven retired superintendent, if she were interested and able.

For the record, I do have five children who graduated from Whitefish Schools, and I do support education, just a little more focused and a lot more fiscally responsible. Thank you Whitefish educators, support personnel, and others (current and retired).

Marguerite Kaminski, Whitefish

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