School board elections coming

Candidate filing period now open
By 
Deb Hill
News-Argus Managing Editor
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
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Fergus County Superintendent of Schools Rhonda Long stands in front of records in her office. Long announced the period for school board candidates to file is officially open.
Photo by Katherine Sears

“It’s easy.”
That’s what Fergus County Superintendent of Schools Rhonda Long says about the process to become a candidate for a school board. School elections will be held in May, and the period for candidates to file is now open.
Long said there are positions available on many of the county’s school boards, including in Lewistown, Deerfield Colony, Grass Range, King Colony, Moore, Roy, Denton, Spring Creek Colony, Winifred and Ayers Colony.
The requirements, Long said, are minimal: A candidate for school trustee must be 18 years of age or older and be a registered voter in the school district where they live.
“This is your chance to have input,” Long said. “Do you have an opinion about how schools operate? We want everybody’s opinion represented.”
Paperwork for those who would like to run for their local school board is available from Long’s office, which is on the first floor of the Fergus County courthouse.
“We just need them to fill out the Declaration of Intent and the Oath of Candidacy,” Long said. “It sounds big but it’s really easy; just their name, address and that they are registered to vote in that district.”
The forms must be turned in to the school district clerk in the district a person wants to run in by the end of the business day on March 25.
“It used to be harder,” Long said. “You used to have to get a petition of people to support you, but now it’s just these two forms.”

Once the school clerks get the forms to her office, Long checks with the county Clerk and Recorder to make sure the candidates are, in fact, registered voters – and that’s the end of the process, up until the May 4 elections.
“Each of the school boards will decide whether to hold their election for board members by mail or in person,” Long said. “Elections cost money, which comes out of the district’s budget. So one of the things the board of trustees may look at is the number of candidates. If there are exactly the same number of candidates as there are positions that are open, or if there are fewer candidates than open positions, the board may cancel an election and just appoint those people who ran. So in some cases, people just fill out the forms and turn them in, and if the board cancels the election, they don’t even have to go through one. It can be really easy.”
Long said all of the open positions are for three-year terms, with the exception of one of the Roy school board positions, which is for two years.
“That’s because a person was appointed mid-term to the Roy school board, until the next election. So that position is just for two years, but all the rest are for three years. There are no term limits,” Long said.
With no term limits, a person elected to a board can run again as many times as they like.
Meanwhile, for voters in the various school districts, absentee ballots will be available starting on April 14. Signing up for an absentee ballot allows a voter to vote from home. Voters can request absentee ballots from their school district clerk from April 14 until noon on May 3 (the day before the election).
For questions or more information, contact Long at 535-3136.

 

Whose terms are up?

Lewistown School District #1: CJ Bailey, Monte Weeden
Deerfield School District #15: Edward Stahl.
Grass Range School District #27: Charles John Tucek, Glen Finkbeiner
King Colony School District #44: Douglas Paul Bingeman, Jerrold L. (Jerry) Simpson
Roy School District #74: Tammy L. Grindheim, Doreen M. McClure, Joann Mosby
Denton School District #84: Carla Allen, Sean Tureck
Spring Creek School District #104: Margaret Walter
Winifred School District #115: Brandon Ewen, Lance R. Heggem
Ayers School District #222: John William Stahl

The deadline to file to run for a school board position is March 25.

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