BOZEMAN - As vote counting wraps up across Gallatin County, the Bozeman School District looks ahead as three new levies were passed, and voters re-elect an incumbent and selected a new trustee for the board.
“When I saw that I had over 7,000 votes I immediately felt humbled and so supported,” says Lauren Dee, Trustee-Elect.
As the district’s newest trustee, Dee looks forward to joining the other members at the table.
“To work with a group of people who are extremely strong and have different life experiences but keep kids in the center of the room,” says Dee.
At a time when politics seem to divide school boards across the county, one thing Dee hopes to bring is a sense of unity.
“I feel like I am a unifier, I’m somebody who enjoys listening to all sides, looking at the data, listening to professionals, listening to people with different experiences that we can learn from,” says Dee.
Bozeman voters also approved three levies, going to fund things such as technology across the district, the two high schools' building maintenance, and the general fund aimed at paying salaries for teachers and staff.
“It's a tough time to pass levies, with property tax fatigue and housing costs through the roof. So, we are incredibly grateful that our community continues to support our school district,” says Superintendent Casey Bertram.
“(The) Building Reserve and the Technology Levy create dedicated funding sources for those types of items,” says Bertram.
Bertram is also grateful to also secure funding to pay teachers and staff as the rising cost of living remains the talk of the town.
“[To] have dedicated funding sources for those so they are not competing in the general fund for dollars. So, our general fund can focus on supporting staff through salaries and benefits,” says Bertram.
With trustee elections wrapping up Bertram expressed gratitude and hope.
“ I'm thankful for our current board, I'm excited to move forward with new members on our board. I'm just very appreciative of community members who are willing to step up into that role,” says Bertram.
As one school year wraps up he looks ahead to the next. He looks forward to tackling issues such as school enrollment and funding, but also getting back to being able to celebrate students in a more normal in-person setting.
“Heading into next school year, not talking about COVID, and circling back to meeting our core purpose on the needs of all students,” says Bertram.