The two school districts that serve Williston are approaching a deal on what a school board representing a reorganized district would look like.
Williston Public School District No. 1 and Williams County Public School District No. 8 are discussing a reorganization plan that would merge the two. One of the state requirements is deciding on what a new school board would look like.
If the plan is approved by a Williams County committee, the state Board of Public Education and voters, then a new board would be elected. The two districts have to agree on the size of that board, as well as how members are elected. The latter point had proved the main area of conflict.
Members of the District 1 board had suggested electing all members at large. On the District 8 board, however, members were concerned about the need for rural representation on the board.
District 8 board members Myles Fisher, Sarah Williams and board Vice President Kyle Renner had all asked about electing at least two and possibly three members from outside the city limits of Williston and electing the other members at large.
Thomas Kalil, District 1 board president, said at a special meeting Monday, June 22, that the idea of representation mattered to District 8 members.
“It’s a big concern to District 8 that they have out of city representation,” he said.
Board member Cory Swint said he didn’t want to have three members from outside the city.
“I would be much more willing to do a split of 2 (outside Williston) and 5 at large,” he said.
Board members Heather Wheeler and Sara Kasmer both asked about having some positions be for residents inside Williston city limits. Kalil and Swint both said they thought that would make things too complicated.
“I worry that breaking it down too much muddies the water,” Swint said. “Because the city’s going to grow.”
Kalil said he thought a simpler solution made sense.
“I’m leaning toward Cory and just making it simple with five at large,” he said.
The members also voted on how to divide the new board’s terms. State law requires the initial terms to be staggered so the entire board isn’t up for election at the same time.
The District 1 board voted to have three of the at-large members and one from outside city limits serve a four-year term at first while the others would serve a three-year term.
Which member had how long a term would be decided by the number of votes.