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Posted: Tuesday, January 14, 2014 7:05 pm | Updated: 1:07 pm, Thu Apr 17, 2014.

Mark Flatau was a clear choice for Kalispell Public Schools superintendent Tuesday night after two days of interviews and public comment.

Two to three Kalispell school board members now will travel to Cle Elum-Roslyn School District in Cle Elum, Wash., for a site visit Jan. 22-23. If that visit is successful, the board plans to offer Flatau a contract on Jan 28.

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          Welcome to the discussion.


          • DJJackson posted at 11:32 pm on Wed, Jan 15, 2014.

            DJJackson Posts: 716

            averagejoe, strikes the nail squarely on the head.

          • averagejoe posted at 4:16 pm on Wed, Jan 15, 2014.

            averagejoe Posts: 253

            I for one am very excited that Mark Flatau has been hired as Superintendent. From what I understand he was not only the choice of the board but also of the rest of the people in attendance. I do feel one group or another within the district is ultimately going to be disappointed with this pick. It will be hard for Mr. Flatau to keep everyone happy. The question is who will it be?, the teachers and their union, the school principals, the aides and other non teaching staff, the parents, or maybe even the board. The main problem this district has is that the public as a whole has been disenfranchised. It starts at the grade schools and by the time the kids reach high school the parents learn that they better just shut up or it won't go good for their kids. If the parents contact Darlene Schottle she tells them that this is the first time she has ever heard of any problems like this and that she will get to the bottom of it, which she never does. She has lost all control of her principals particularly at the two high schools. My kids have been out of the Kalispell schools for several years now and up until a few years ago I always supported levies, if Mr. Flatau is successful at this new position and fixes some of the major problems that this district has I will once again start voting yes. All I can say is that the sooner Darlene Schottle is gone from this district the better it will be for the kids.

          • DJJackson posted at 3:41 pm on Wed, Jan 15, 2014.

            DJJackson Posts: 716


            I don't believe Squirrel is one bit worried about me, she/he seems to be reading what I have to say, unfortunately, you are not. Squirrel seems to have some vision, you on the other hand?

          • Squirrel posted at 3:13 pm on Wed, Jan 15, 2014.

            Squirrel Posts: 41

            I think we ALL are trying to figure out what we think.
            DJ is paying attention and has a right to his opinions. No one on the board or in the district is a saint, and there will be differences of opinion.
            Some individuals in every community take issue with increasing expenditures in government. I think we need to be vigilant. From what I've seen, the board members are paying attention to the attitudes of the community, even if they don't change course.

            The fact is, education is an expensive endeavor, and all the infrastructure needs to keep pace (tech, safety, etc.). All costs are going up, so even when cuts are made, the budget increases or services to students go away.

          • flatheadmom posted at 2:06 pm on Wed, Jan 15, 2014.

            flatheadmom Posts: 40

            Squirrel, thank you for your service to our community. I’m sure you and the school board made a fine choice.

            And don’t worry about DJJackson, he is still trying to figure out what he thinks.

          • sunrise777 posted at 1:59 pm on Wed, Jan 15, 2014.

            sunrise777 Posts: 16

            I also attended the interviews held at KMS last evening and I am not a teacher. Both written and verbal comments were collected as part of the process and I felt the best candidate was selected for the position based on his educational vision and personal experience. This was a very democratic process that I felt was well handled by the Board of Trustees who often have very heartfelt disagreements on issues in education. The meet and greet at the Museum at Central School was very well advertised and attended and I felt each of the candidates were very responsive to resident concerns. I understand that we all see things differently, but I was never made to feel my feedback was unwelcome. I hope there will be more open forums with the addition of Mr. Flatau to our district.

          • DJJackson posted at 1:38 pm on Wed, Jan 15, 2014.

            DJJackson Posts: 716

            And flatheadmom, I never said, I disagreed with squirrels methods and reason, my only exception to the post was the line about people not being personally involved, as we all pay taxes for these schools, we are all personally involved!

          • DJJackson posted at 1:36 pm on Wed, Jan 15, 2014.

            DJJackson Posts: 716

            Many people who have voiced concerns over the school system in the Flathead have been put down and told they don't matter, when people start saying something in one of the only places they can, then they are told they have no credence. The school districts are continually asking for money, if the people say no, then they are called short sighted and stupid.

            The one thing I do agree with, if there is a viable candidate for the position in this valley, then they should be given first consideration. So far, there seems to be a lack of qualified candidates for these positions in this valley. I have no problem with hiring the best person for the job, even if from outside the area.

            My biggest gripe is when people question the schools and the administration, the stand the line is you don't understand the issues, you are hiding behind a screen name, you are stupid if you don't pay up, etc.

            I have been to school meetings, only to be told, my concerns are not valid.

          • DJJackson posted at 1:30 pm on Wed, Jan 15, 2014.

            DJJackson Posts: 716


            All I can say is some of you people in this valley are simply amazing. Having credence with people like you, means nothing.

          • photoguy posted at 12:53 pm on Wed, Jan 15, 2014.

            photoguy Posts: 937


            I have attended every meeting possible for over 15 years now, I vote in every single election and have been told on numerous occasions that my concerns are not valid due to the fact I don't have and never had children in the school system in Montana. I have wrote many letters over the years about the administration in Kalispell and will continue to do so. I have researched this individual and there does not seem to be any glaring faults with him, I do hope he does a better job than the previous person who held the position.

          • flatheadmom posted at 12:47 pm on Wed, Jan 15, 2014.

            flatheadmom Posts: 40

            DJJackson, what are you referring to when you say, “That is the problem with school systems these days, they won't listen to those who are paying the bills.” Squirrel indicated he/she used very specific criteria to evaluate the candidates and why for certain compelling reasons this particular candidate was chosen. Do you disagree with his/her reasons?

            I agree with Squirrel, your comments don't have much credence.

          • Squirrel posted at 12:13 pm on Wed, Jan 15, 2014.

            Squirrel Posts: 41

            Not sure who "you people" is.

            Tax payers do have a voice. I pay taxes in Kalispell, so I feel the burden of the financial decisions made here.

            Using an anonymous online forum may not be the best way to express concerns. (That said, dollars to donuts, the candidate will read these comments.)

            I take issue with complaints and no realistic suggestions for solutions. This district is FAR from perfect (it's a human enterprise, after all). I definitely don't agree with all the decisions made. But I know if I really care about something, I can write a letter or show up at a meeting or an office and say what I need to say. And I vote.

          • DJJackson posted at 11:37 am on Wed, Jan 15, 2014.

            DJJackson Posts: 716

            You people seem to forget, every single property owner in the Flathead is involved at a personal level. It is our money that pays those bills and one of those bills is the salary of the district administrators.

          • DJJackson posted at 11:34 am on Wed, Jan 15, 2014.

            DJJackson Posts: 716


            Yes, our comments should have credence, we are the tax paying citizens that keep these schools funded, when people are paying the bills, they do have a voice at the table. That is the problem with school systems these days, they won't listen to those who are paying the bills.

          • Squirrel posted at 11:19 am on Wed, Jan 15, 2014.

            Squirrel Posts: 41

            I met each candidate and sat through all 5 interviews. There were 2 Montana candidates and while good educators, they were not the best match for what Kalispell needs. Flatau's wife's family lived in Creston, and they've been coming here for 38 years, so he is not a completely detached outsider coming in.

            Of all the candidates, he demonstrated an eagerness that stood above and beyond. He did his homework - lots of it. He STUDIED the issues here in Kalispell, and has a plan for listening to the community that is realistic and open. It's very rare to see that level of preparation for ANY position (he was really, really prepared and could talk specifics).

            There are always unknowns when bringing someone in from outside of the district, but it can bring healthy change. I think Flatau will inspire - and that kind of energy is a great thing.

            I am a business owner in the community, not a district employee. I took the time to meet the candidates. I intend to get to know the new superintendent because I care about the future of Kalispell. The vast majority of observers at the interviews were district employees. Even some students showed up for a bit. Those of you who like to complain in the online forums... if you're not involved at a personal level, then your comments don't have much credence.

          • flatheadmom posted at 9:57 am on Wed, Jan 15, 2014.

            flatheadmom Posts: 40

            If Montanans want jobs in Montana, they will have to compete with the best and brightest in the nation who want to move here. Giving jobs to Montanans who don’t compare to others lowers the standard of quality we should require in our public servants.

            How ridiculous to suggest our best students leave the state because we don’t automatically give them jobs. If they have earned the job, they will be chosen. It’s that simple.

          • Rebel Rouser posted at 9:07 am on Wed, Jan 15, 2014.

            Rebel Rouser Posts: 1560


          • mtdawg posted at 8:51 am on Wed, Jan 15, 2014.

            mtdawg Posts: 293

            I'm sure there's an out of work logger, truck driver, or casino manager who would gladly take the job.

          • Montana Native 420 posted at 8:25 am on Wed, Jan 15, 2014.

            Montana Native 420 Posts: 205

            I agree with montana him. Let's keep our jobs local! Screw the out if staters

          • MontanaJim72 posted at 7:39 am on Wed, Jan 15, 2014.

            MontanaJim72 Posts: 223

            Once again, a high paying local job goes to somebody from out of state. Evergreen school district hired somebody from Alabama and now Kalispell hires somebody from Washington. Montana always brags about their education system, but they rarely hire anybody who is from the state to fill their school positions. The Missoula school district also hired from out of state. It's no wonder Montana's best students leave here for elsewhere. They know they have no future in Montana.


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