New Williston school district opens Thursday

What we knew

The story of Williston Basin District No. 007 starts a long time before anyone dreamed up that name.

The story so far

In 1950, facing declining enrollment, multiple small school districts reorganized into New Public School District No. 8 — later the name was changed to Williams County School District No. 8.

Not long after District 8 formed, people started wondering whether it would eventually merge with Williston Public School District No. 1, which it entirely surrounded. It took 70 years, but it did happen.

In December, voters in both districts overwhelmingly approved a reorganization plan. District 1 saw 86.6% vote yes, while 13.4% voted no. In District 8., 59.6% voted yes, while 40.4% voted no. While the planning and approval process for the reorganization was happening, District 8 transferred some of its land to other districts.

About a week after voters OK’d the reorganization, they elected seven members to the school board.

All seven seats on the board went to members of either District 1 or District 8. From District 1, board President Thomas Kalil, board Vice President Heather Wheeler and board member Cory Swint won at-large seats.

From District 8, board President Chris Jundt and board member John Kasmer won at-large seats while board Vice President Kyle Renner and board member Sarah Williams won the two seats reserved for board members who live outside Williston city limits.

At an early meeting, Jundt was elected president of the school board and Renner elected vice president.

What’s next

The District 7 board will meet Thursday, July 1.

Under state law, the board has been limited in what it could do until after the district officially opens. Once that happens on July 1, the board will adopt policies and have an organizational meeting.

School in District 7 is scheduled to start Tuesday, Aug. 17, and the year ends on May 26 with the last day of classes and May 29 with high school graduation.

District 7 has an estimated taxable valuation of $228,808,852, and the county will have a final number as of Dec. 1. Projected enrollment for the 2021-22 school year is about 6,300 students.

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