Written by John Plestina
With a need to replace the carpeted gym floor at Frontier School that has been in place since 1981, school district trustees are trying to find funding and the right type of flooring in hopes of installing a new floor this summer.
Ed Hennessy of Wolf Point and a contractor from Missoula presented options to the Frontier School board Monday, April 13.
The board hasn’t made any decisions except we don’t want to go with carpet. That’s what we have in there currently. It’s been in there 34 years and its held up,” superintendent Christine Eggar said.
She said a hardwood floor is a possibility, but there are concerns about maintenance. Rubber and polyurethane flooring with a padded base are also being considered.
“I think we have about $44,000 set aside for the gym floor. The bid we got was in the ‘70s,” Eggar said.
“If we could get it done this summer, I think we could find the money. We have two budget years to work with,” she said.
Athletic Director Marianne Rees recently held a fundraising basketball tournament and raised about $1,200 for the gym floor.
The district is researching the cost of maintenance of various materials, length of time for installation and availability of contractors to do an installation. The school board will discuss the findings at the next board meeting.
The gym and most of the school building were built in 1964.
Written by John Plestina
A small number of Wolf Point voters met 12 of the 14 candidates that are running for six seats on the Wolf Point School Board during a meet and greet and candidate forum, Monday, April 20.
The Wolf Point Education Association sponsored the event.
Five of the trustee positions are newly redistricted single-member districts within Wolf Point and there is single at-large position that includes all of Wolf Point and the Frontier School District.
Redistricting came as a result of a federal court-mandate in 2014 forcing the election for all board seats.
All six current trustees were elected at-large.
The candidates by district are:
District 45-1, two-year term, Yvonne (Smoker) Bashay, Corey E Reum;
District 45-2, one-year term, Jaronn R. Boysun [incumbent], Linda L. Hansen;
District 45-3, three-year term, Mark Kurokawa, Gib R. Medicine Cloud;
District 45-4, three-year term, Paul K, Gysler, LaRae Hanks, Lawrence “Larry” Wetsit;
District 45-5, two-year term, Lanette Clark, Mary Vine;
At-large district 45A, one-year term with Brandon Babb, Roxanne Gourneau and Glenn Strader seeking election.
Boysun is the only incumbent running.
Gysler and Medicine Cloud did not attend the forum.
The candidates answered the same questions.
First they were asked why they are running and what their positive assets are.
Hansen said she has 28 years experience working in higher education and she wants to bring her experience to the school board and further her presence in the community through public service.
Boysun said he believes in the things the current board [which he is a member of] is doing. He said he has not accomplished everything he has set out to do as a school board member. He also said he wants the district to become financially responsible. He said repairs and updates for school facilities are important because the students deserve the opportunity to learn in an environment that promotes learning.
Hanks said she is a team player and skilled in management. She said she would represent all of the students. She said she believes all students deserve the best education possible.
Wetsit said the WPSD did a great job educating his children. He said every great community begins with a great education system. Wetsit said he took part as a plaintiff in the lawsuit against the WPPD that forced redistricting so that Indians would have a better say in local education.
Babb said he is running to make a difference. He sited his school board experience on the Frontier School Board and said the main thing he would like to accomplish is help the board set and follow good policy.
Vine said she is running for the board because she wants to be a voice for all students and see achievement and success for all students.
Clark said she is a lifelong Wolf Point resident except for two years. She said she wants to help students move forward in their lives. She said she has been involved with the Johnson O’Malley and Title VII programs for over 20 years. She said the more students that graduate the stronger the community will be.
Kurokawa said he wants to put forth his ideas and he brings more than 20 years experience in management with the Montana Department of Transportation. He said his experience includes budgets, working with unions, employee management and facilities maintenance. Kurokawa wants the district to hire and retain good employees.
Reum said he grew up in Wolf Point, went to local schools and is running for the school board to help the students. Reum said he often addresses issues with youth for the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office. He serves as chief deputy.
Bashay said she is a strong believer in education as a powerful, professional and efficient method for students to change their surroundings with the power to change their lives and community.
Strader said he is a former WPHS teacher, former WPSD board member and a past Frontier school board member. He said he wants to be part of the change the community needs to improve relations between the school board and the public, which he said are not good.
Gourneau said she would not favor one side over another. She said education can and should get better and she wants to fix a disconnect in the community. She is the Fort Peck Tribes education chair. She said she wants Wolf Point schools to become the best in Montana.
The candidates also responded to a question of how they would address the school district budget.
Hansen said she would take a systematic approach to the budget. She said she does not want to cut anything that would bring essential services to students.
Boysun said the district needs to spend money on the childrens’ education. He cited technology, facilities and administration. Boysun said facilities are a major thing. He also called the board’s cutting the preschool program last year a hard choice.
Hanks said she would evaluate the budget needs and consider academic needs.
Wetsit said strategic planning is needed. He said he is big on academics and that every student needs to be better prepared for college or vocational programs.
Babb said 80 to 90 percent of the school district budget goes to wages and employee insurance. He said good planning and aggressively going after grants is necessary. Babb said the district needs good administration and enough teachers to educate the students.
Vine said she would evaluate by the importance of specific needs and if those needs are going to benefit the education of the students.
Clark said with more funding to the school district available with more students, retaining students is important. She said the district is losing students at the high school level and some of them are getting into trouble. Clark also questioned if the lawsuit that forced school board redistricting and resulted in costs for the district was necessary and if two superintendents in place a the same time a few years ago was necessary. Clark was a plaintiff in the lawsuit.
Kurokawa said the board needs to work with administration and teachers. he said we cannot leave our children behind. Kurokawa called for everything to be open and transparent.
Reum said the district should be creative and listen to what the teachers need. He said the district needs to find money when mill levies don’t pass.
Bashay said she would construct a budget analysis and utilize grants, fundraising and a strategic plan.
Strader said teachers and employee insurance are the biggest expenses. He cited the Poplar School District hiring grant writers from outside the local area to find funding.
Gourneau said there are unmet needs and the community should be enlightened about why the needs are necessary. She cited the preschool program, which was discontinued after the last school year and technology. She asked if the district is tracking needs or just spending.
Written by Herald-News
Fourteen candidates are running for six positions on the Wolf Point School board in the school district election Tuesday, May 4.
Why did you declare yourself a candidate for the school board? What do you hope to accomplish as a school board member?
At-Large District 45A
Brandon Babb: I believe that I can make a difference and have some experience that will help solidify the board. The main thing I hope to accomplish is help the board set and follow good policy.
Roxanne Gourneau: Seeking a seat on the Wolf Point School board is a responsible action for any person that feels improvement is needed, it is my belief that I can improve on our school system with a positive outcome for all children and families. If elected my purpose is simple to become the best school in Montana, I will work hand in hand with the community and employees to attain the best school system we all desire.
Glenn Strader: I feel it is my responsibility as a former WPHS teacher, former school board member of both Frontier and Wolf Point school boards, and a member of this community for many years to step up to the challenge. I want to be part of the change that our community needs to improve relations between the school board and the community, and to be successful in contract negotiations, which have broken down. Also, I want to thank those in the community for their encouragement in voting for me.
Yvonne Bashay: I decided to declare myself as a candidate for school board because I have a direct interest in the education of the children who live in my community. I am a strong believer of education. I have a Master of Business Administration degree, and a Bachelor of Science in Business with a concentration in Business Management degree. I believe education is a powerful, professional, efficient method for which an individual may change his or her surroundings. With education in tow, our children will possess the power to change their lives, community, and potentially the world. What I would like to accomplish as a school board member is to reiterate the schools’ policies and procedures, mission and vision statements, in order to revamp the schools’ organizational structure and behavior.
Corey Reum: I’m running because there is a need for volunteers. I live here and draw wages from here, therefore I should give back. I want the school system to run like a well-oiled machine. I am a great innovator and am able to raise morale and influence co-workers to find good solutions for the problems at hand.
Jaronn Boysun: I feel that I have not accomplished all that I have set out to do. I want to continue to help our district become financially responsible. I also would like to see our facilities get on a schedule for fixes and replacement of outdated equipment. Our students deserve the chance to learn in a place that promotes learning, where outdated equipment and facility issues do not hinder the learning process.
Linda Hansen: I read the public notice of the upcoming school board election published in the Wolf Point Herald. Knowing that I wanted to further my presence in the community through public service, I gave it serious consideration. First, I “polled” my family, then my friends and colleagues of their opinion of me as a school board member. Once I was assured by my family, friends and colleagues that they would support my efforts and expressed their belief that I was a worthy candidate, I submitted the candidacy application. My reasons for running are twofold. One, I want to help my community through volunteerism. Second, I have a strong conviction that education is one of the greatest tools we can use to combat many of the social issues our community endures. If elected as a trustee of the Wolf Point School board; it would be the best venue to use my experience in higher education while working to give back to my community.
Mark Kurokawa: As a candidate from District 3, I decided to run for a position on the Wolf Point School Board for several reasons. As a lifelong resident of Wolf Point, I felt it was time to become a candidate and put forth my ideas and energy towards the major position changes that are about to take place on the school board and within the current administration. I feel that my career of 26 plus years with the Montana Department of Transportation gives me the experience to deal with issues that involve planning, budgets, policies, unions, public involvement, facility maintenance, performance evaluation, hiring of employees, transportation and contract negotiations. With the possibility of a whole new school board and a new superintendent, I see this as an exciting time within School District 45. If elected I would take time to promote positive changes to help better our students, teachers, administration, facilities and community pride.
Gib Medicine Cloud: I declared myself as a candidate for Wolf Point school board because I feel a change is needed. I will work toward rebuilding our school so that it will support the educational needs of all children and families. I also have a strong belief in athletics and will work towards improving all athletic programs. I have four children that attend the Wolf Point Schools and feel the need to show them that being a part of our community is important. Our schools are the biggest part of this community. Our children are our future. My goal is to provide positive guidance by working together with all staff and families to strive for an excellent education so that our children become productive members of our society. If elected I will work hand and hand with all educators, administration, staff, and community to accomplish this goal.
Paul Gysler: A. The youth in the school is our future. When I am old they will lead this town. I hope to accomplish what any school board should be looking to accomplish: student achievement, parental involvement, financial stability, administrative efficiency and a strong public support for the school.
LaRae Hanks: I have declared myself a candidate for the school board because I believe that each and every student in our district deserves the best education possible. I feel that as an active community member, parent and business person, I am qualified to help the other school board members make the best decisions for our students and staff.
Larry Wetsit: Every great community begins with a great education system. In order to improve our community our education system has to be the best that we can afford. Great people are the result of a great education system. Wolf Point School needs to set that as one of the goals for all students, the institution needs to tell that to the community, and most of all it needs to show the community that they are making progress in that regard. I filled because that is my goal for this community and this education institution. This school did great things with my children’s education and I want that for all students.
Lanette Clark: I grew up and lived in Wolf Point all my life, with the exception of two years. I have been involved with the Indian Parent Committee for the last 20-plus years, which consists of working with the Johnson O’Malley and Title VII programs. I also sit on the Fort Peck Tribal Education Board of Directors. I received my MBA from Gonzaga University, BS from Rocky Mountain College, AA from Fort Peck Community College and AAS from Billings Vo-Tech Center. I take pride in being from Wolf Point and I want to contribute back to my community. I want to see a better relationship with the community and schools so that we can educate and graduate every student. The more students we graduate, the stronger our community will be.
Mary Vine: I wanted to run for the school board because I have children and a niece in the school system. I want to be a voice for all students and see achievement and success for all students as well.
What do you see as being the major issues facing the school district?
At-Large District 45A
Babb: Right at the moment it appears that hiring a good administration is the major issue that we have to deal with. Good people attract good people. I think that getting a strong administrator and then supporting that individual will be key.
Gourneau: Truancy is a major issue that impacts all of us, it holds the teachers hostage in a classroom when even one of their students is unable to attend regularly for that child still needs to meet educational goals so the teacher becomes divided between advanced teaching and bringing a student along. Our community and school fall into despair because we are highly critical of these shortcomings, we need to come together to eliminate this far reaching problem that affects our desired outcome of a sound educational system for all students and families.
Strader: Several major issues I see are the dropout rate and lack of enforcement by the legal system to keep students in school, financial issues that have plagued our school district for the past several years, and weak leadership in the school district because of the high turnout rate among the administrators.
Bashay: The major issues faced by the school district are: competing at a national level, securing adequate funding, cultural diversity, recruiting and retaining qualified professionals, and addressing the behavioral issues suffered by the children, such as high school dropout rates, bullying, drugs and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy and teen suicide.
Reum: Troubles ahead are many. Any actions taken by a board will not please everyone. As long as the objective is to improve the children’s welfare [and teachers], I don’t think you’re doing evil work. I hope to become an asset to the Wolf Point school system.
Boysun: The major issue I see in our district is continuing with financial stability. I believe we have started on a good road right now, but the road is narrow. I feel that any unnecessary spending could send us back down the road. As a board we will need to continue to work with the administrators to work on the budget and save money where possible. Also we will need the help of the public supporting upcoming projects to better our schools. Our school is badly in need of a new gym floor and a new parking lot, for example. As a current board member I helped approve upgrades to the gym ceiling, walls and locker rooms. The gym floor not only serves our extra-curricular students, but also serves as a classroom. We need to come together with the public to get the floor replaced. Also we need to look at projects that will make our district safer. In its current state, our parking lot becomes a health hazard in the winter season. Hopefully the administrators, board and public can work with one another and fix these issues and more.
Hansen: First, drop-out/retention rates. Second, budgetary shortfalls. Third, retaining administrators and teachers for the long term. Fourth, common core standards and school assessment [AYP].
Kurokawa: As a candidate I feel that the school budget is one of the most important issues the district is faced with. I feel that it is important to continue to maintain the current budget and find new ideas that help improve our school to become more cost efficient. I also believe that the community’s perspective of the school district is another area that can be improved upon. I am a firm believer that a strong education system makes a strong community.
Medicine Cloud: The budget has been the biggest issue facing our schools the past few years. There has been many cut and added fees to children. This only puts more of a financial strain on families. I also feel too many of our children are falling between the cracks when to come to attendance. They are giving up on attending school. Many times they just need to know that they are needed and wanted at school. Bettering communication between school and home will greatly improve the children’s perspective of how they are perceived at school. I feel having a home/school coordinator for all schools would greatly improve the attendance issues they are currently having. Providing an in-town bus route would also get our children to school.
Gysler: I am going to sound like a broken record, but its: Student achievement, parental involvement, financial stability, administrative efficiency, and public support for the school.
Hanks: I think recruiting and retaining qualified staff is a major issue facing our district.
Wetsit: One of the major issues is the four day school week. Another issue is maintaining adequate funding given the amount of federal funds that Wolf Point receives and taxpayers wanting to see that their dollars are spent wisely. Another issue is graduates seem not to be prepared for college and vocational programs when they graduate.
Clark: We all know that the budget can be a major issue, but other issues that need to be looked at is bullying and the high dropout rates. Every student we lose is a student who is on the streets and into mischief. Every student we graduate has more potential of being a productive community member.
Vine: The biggest issue I see in the school district is the budget problems. I am hoping to be able to look at this and find ways to improve the budget.
What other areas of the school system do you feel are the most in need of improvement? How would you address those areas?
At-Large District 45A
Babb: As far as questions 3-5 go, I don’t feel that I can answer them. I don’t think anybody that is not on the board and has all the facts, and administration recommendations, can give a honest, non-biased answer. If given the opportunity to deal with the questions, I will use common sense, and good business practices to help steer the district in making decisions that are best for the district and the kids. I think one of the biggest mistakes people make when running for a school board is to have a bunch of pre-conceived ideas and answers when we don’t know all the facts and numbers, and right at the moment don’t have any recommendations from the new superintendent. I see the board as governing body that sets and follows policy to keep the district in good financial shape while giving the kids the best possible education. As far as programs being cut and where the money needs to be spent, I believe the board needs to lean on the administration for recommendations. I feel the board is there to govern, and the administration is hired to run the school.
Gourneau: Our school relies to heavily on the tax levies to impact change, we need to shift that burden off the shoulders of the citizens and go after the vast amount of funding that exists for schools. We are very much entitled to pursue these avenues but it just has not been done on a larger scale. Every aspect of any school requires constant improvement. It is the way of all educational systems we cannot remain stationary in our duties to our school we must constantly meet the demands that exist all around us globally. Expanding our educational network is critical in accomplishing improved educational outcomes, but we must do it together. We all have valuable insight that is needed to meet the highest standard of education.
Strader: School/community relations are at an all-time low, elementary buildings are old and need updating, negotiations between staff, teachers, and members of the school board appear unsuccessful. I hope we can hire a superintendent that is knowledgeable enough to solve these issues.
Bashay: As stated previously, the areas of the school system that needs to be improved is the school’s organizational structure and behavior. The professionals who are entrusted with our kids’ futures need to be qualified, trained, and educated to deal with issues regarding dysfunctional behaviors, cultural diversity, and infusing creativity into common core curriculum. I believe continuous education, staff development workshops, trainings, and seminars may help to address those areas.
Reum: I want to be part of a productive cooperative school board to represent the use in the teachers in a productive manner. I hope the new school board coming in will work together for the best solutions for our youth.
Boysun: One of the major problems with our school system is truancy. There are some students who have missed well over half of the school days, some up to 75 percent. I believe that our district needs to look at hiring a truancy officer. This officer should have the authority and ability to work with the county, city and tribal justice system to hold parents accountable for their children making it to school on time and every day. We cannot begin to teach our students what they need to learn if they are missing 100 of 164 days in a school year, every year.
Hansen: It is difficult to answer questions three and four without first visiting each school, seeking the input from school administrators and teachers, reviewing past school reports, and school board minutes to make informed decisions regarding the needs of the Wolf Point school system. The board would need to perform its due diligence by seeking as much information as possible to support the decisions they are charged to make.
Kurokawa: As I read school positions that are currently advertised in the local papers, I find it alarming that the school district is not able to retain employees. First and foremost we need to be able to attract and retain good teachers. I feel that if the district provides a good administration, a good support system, and provides them with the tools necessary to do their job, teachers will stay.
Medicine Cloud: I feel being able to keep good quality educational staff and administrators within our schools. This would be ideal for our children. We do have good educator but many times they do not stay here long. I would address this by always having an open line of communication and collaborating with school staff on their needs.
Gysler: The communication and goals between the school board, parents, and the rest of the community. I like to model after other successful school systems. If there is literature on an issue with a quality authority on the subject, I will search there.
Hanks: I think that the district’s buildings are need of some repairs. They are getting quite old and need some attention.
Wetsit: The best affordable academic program has to be the one of the main priorities of the institution. The junior high and high school schedule should be such that core courses are taught Tuesday to Thursday and have electives on Mondays and Fridays. Student activities outside of class like sports normally infringe on Fridays and holidays are normally on Monday. Students would miss less core education time throughout the school year.
Clark: I want every community member to feel welcomed when they walk through the doors of the Wolf Point schools. I feel this currently is not happening. I know that there is a low moral within our community and I would like to see that change. How do I plan on addressing this issue, by building relationships. It doesn’t take much to show people you care and you are willing to work for them. When empathy and trust are there, positive progress can happen between the school, student and parents.
Vine: An improvement really needs to be made in the student drop-out rate. We need to be able to figure out why the rates are so high and find a way to get these kids to stay in school and graduate.
What areas do you feel have the most and least needs for spending by the school district?
At-Large District 45A
Babb: [This question was not specifically answered.]
Gourneau: Budgetary development and implementation has not been as transparent for community review as I would have liked, therefore it is difficult to give a informed response to what should be the least and highest needs of spending. However, if I were to rely on community understanding I would work diligently on closing the gaps of learning, encourage all students to become involved in school sponsored activities with an emphasis on inclusion versus exclusion, embrace classroom development, and most importantly reverse the perception of a disconnected school system to it’s citizens this myth has impeded the dreams and successes of all our children and has somehow placed our school in a defensive mode this must end now for the good of our entire community. Children will not aspire to be their greatest under the veil of mistrust, financial resources will not be ignored or minimized, the education of our children should not resemble a lottery. They need full funding in all aspects not a competition for learning.
Strader: The biggest need that I see is for school improvement through higher scoring and making AYP. The least need is purchasing new technology because grant money have helped replace the current technology.
Bashay: I believe the school should invest and initiate staff development workshops, trainings, and seminars. The least need for spending are any unnecessary renovations.
Reum: I hope we can find a solution for the money problems the school district is facing. I would like to hire a grant writer if feasible/affordable. I want the Wolf Point district to produce productive individuals.
Boysun: I believe that most of our spending needs to be focused on our students education. I believe that less money needs to be spent for extra-curricular uses.
Hansen: [This question was not specifically answered.]
Kurokawa: I feel that the facilities are in need of repair and updates. The board will need to find ways to continue to maintain its facilities so they may continue to facilitate the community. It is my understanding that the school district has received the Striving Readers grant to update smart boards, computers and tablets. This next fiscal year will be the second year that the district has received the grant. With this money going to technology within the school system, the need for budgeted money in the technology line item should go down.
Medicine Cloud: The most spending should be on improving the education of our children and professional development of the educational staff so that they can provide the best education. All spending by the school district is needed.
Gysler: I don’t have the correct information at this time to give you an answer. When the numbers are available, we can look at highly rated schools to see what areas match up and which don’t.
Hanks: As in most businesses, the majority of expenses are in paying staff competitive wages and benefits. I feel extra curricular activities need the least spending, but are definitely necessary.
Wetsit: I am not familiar enough with the school budget to know all the programs and staff and I don’t know their revenue stream so I cannot answer this question adequately.
Clark: I would like to see the preschool come back because its important that we get our students started off with enhanced pre-reading skills, larger vocabulary bank, stronger basic math skills and better socializing skills.
Vine: I cannot say at this time what areas need to be adjusted for spending in either way. I can say however, that I am willing to study the issue more to help in anyway needed.
If any programs need to be cut in the future due to a budget shortfall, what would you cut first, second and third?
At-Large District 45A
Babb: [This question was not specifically answered.]
Gourneau: I personally have no intention of making or recommending any cuts, if the program is relevant to educational success I will work diligently with the powers that be to maintain and enhance the program. As I stated previously there is a vast amount of untapped resources that exist on a state and national level that could support the needs of our school system, with the support of the newly elected board and administration it would be my intent to tap into these funding sources for the benefit of the school. On a personal note I would like to share with you some of my personal and professional information that could help you make an informed decision on your selection for the “at large” School Board position: I am a life long resident of Roosevelt County and have chosen to live my entire life in this area and raise my family in support of that decision I have dedicated my entire adult life to public service to the communities of this county and reservation. I have a vested interest in seeing our schools become an institution of excellence with the highest of standards, our social and economic well being depends on this outcome. In 1999, I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Community Service and went onto developing my education in the workplace of every position I have held always striving for betterment. Many times throughout the years I have served in collaborations to improve our schools in various challenges, my most notable team work was bringing Second Step to the Northside School, it was a primary goal of Tribal Strategies Against Violence, to this day that has proven to be a positive investment of time and money. At present I serve as the Chairman of Education, a new Committee for the Fort Peck Tribes, it has proven to be extremely beneficial to raising awareness in the areas of education, we have managed to bring all the schools together to hear what is happening in all the schools and lend our support for improved educational needs. Throughout the years I have been trained in the Standard Operating Procedures of budget development, teamwork, Policy Development, Robert’s Rules of Order, Human Resource Development, Financial Development, Program Planning, and Community Investment/Development these are just a few areas named that I feel are relevant to being a School Board member candidate. In totality I have in excess of 25 years of Program Development, Judicial, Executive, and Legislative experience that I will bring to the table and most importantly I work in teams of shared interests to attain great outcomes. In closing, I would just like to state that I am not running against my opponents for this seat, I am merely running for the vacancy that is open for consideration so please be mindful of that fact, and select the best candidate that possesses the qualities you would want to see representing the Wolf Point School.
Strader: I do not believe we should cut programs that affect the education of our students but we need to work to improve community relations and I believe that a change is coming for the Wolf Point School District.
Bashay: First of all, I would try to offset budget shortfalls by first looking toward the schools’ grant writers and apply for any available grants. Then, I would initiate fundraising activities, before cutting any programs. If all options were exhausted, I would suggest cutting non-essential building renovations, non-traditional extra-curricular activities, and some electives.
Reum: [This question not specifically answered.]
Boysun: I would look at all options for cuts. In the past, I have been in the middle of some difficult decisions for our district. In the end I hope to work with the administrators to make the right decision for the majority of our students. Thank you for your time and please support me in my bid to continue on the Wolf Point School Board. Help me finish my unfinished business. Thanks again.
Hansen: Without fully examining the budget in its entirety, reviewing each programs goals and objectives and their fiscal characteristics, I cannot state what, if any, program cuts should be made. I can state that before cutting any program that delivers services to our students, other tactics should be examined first. The board should begin by asking questions such as, how can operational costs be decreased? How can our school administrators, faculty and staff be a part of the process? As a board member, I alone cannot make a decision to cut any program. I would work with my fellow board members to try and keep essential programs for students and our school personal. If it is determined that a program needs to be cut from the Wolf Point School District’s budget, I would want our administrators to look immediately for grant opportunities to replace a possible program cut and for grant opportunities that could enhance current programs.
Kurokawa: Not being a current board member, it is hard for me to answer this question. If there were a budget shortfall, the best answer that I can give at this time is that the board would have to review all items and cut areas that would least affect the student body.
Medicine Cloud: If programs need to be cut in the future due to a budget short fall, I feel the best step to take is to conduct a needs assessment survey so that input from the community, students, and staff are all taken into consideration.
Gysler: I prefer to make adjustments over time. A few times a year collectively try to find what is working and what isn’t.
Hanks: I don’t feel that at this time I have enough information to answer this question. But I would think one would start with programs that are not required by the state.
Wetsit: Unfortunately in all organizations where you depend on federal funds it can cause a bit of uncertainty in the budget cycle and school systems are not exempt from this. If this is an issue in the future, my opinion is to try to exempt academic programs from budget cuts and try to come up with a priority system for other programs based on which cuts affect the least amount of students and staff. Without being knowledgeable about the budget I can’t say specifically which program need to be cut.
Clark: I would like to think that no programs would have to be cut if all nonessential spending in areas such as supplies, travel, etc. could be cut first. If programs had to be cut, then evaluate what programs are going to get the biggest bang for our buck.
Vine: As far as I know, there are not many programs left. They are already cut to the bare minimum. Cutting any more programs can start affecting the students’ education.
Written by John Plestina
Nearly nine weeks after a Montana State Prison inmate from Wolf Point escaped from a watch program, he was arrested after taking officers from several law enforcement agencies on a high-speed chase through Havre and some 22 miles, nearly to Chinook.
Eric Bruce Fowler, 34, was discovered missing from a Montana State Prison Watch program at the Warm Springs Addiction Treatment program on Monday, Jan. 18, at about 8 p.m.
The result was an intensive search in and around both Wolf Point and Glasgow, where he was reported to have a girlfriend.
Nine weeks later, on Friday, March 20, Ranette R. Doney, 35, took Havre police on a high-speed chase through city streets with Fowler a passenger in her car. Havre police and several other law enforcement agencies arrested Doney and Fowler in a field near Prairie Road, several miles south of Chinook.
Doney was charged with felony criminal endangerment, felony obstructing justice, fleeing and eluding a police officer and reckless driving, and held without bail in Blaine County.
Wolf Point Police Chief Jeff Harada said in January that Fowler had been incarcerated for a drug offense.
Fowler previously escaped from the Fort Peck Tribes Adult Detention Center in August 2013 after he had been arrested on felony charges of possession of dangerous drugs [methamphetamine], failure to register as a violent offender and misdemeanor charges of possession of dangerous drugs [marijuana], driving with a suspended license and failure to have a child properly restrained. Valley County Sheriff’s deputies apprehended Fowler two weeks later.
Written by John Plestina
A man illegally burning without a permit for a controlled burn caused a wildfire that burned about 57 acres and caused power outages Saturday, April 18.
The Wolf Point Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched at 11:30 a.m. to what became a wildfire off BIA Route 1 about seven miles west of Wolf Point.
The fire burned two power poles and caused outages for rural customers of McCone Electric Co-op and Norval Electric Co-op.
WPVFD fire chief Shawn Eggar said the man could be cited for charges related to burning without a permit. The man has not been identified.
Conditions, including wind, were bad for burning.
“There was no red flag day, but there’s no way they would have issued a burn permit that day,” Eggar said.