Letters to the Editor, April 26 edition – Part 1

Make the effort to know school board candidates, supporting Coffman

Dear Editor,

To members of the Ennis community – As the school board election approaches, please remember this is not about two candidates running together but four individual candidates vying for two positions.

Please consider the motives of each candidate running. Does the candidate attend school functions and personally know the students and staff they will be representing? Do they have a vested and genuine interest in making a difference for education? It is not about supporting “this current board member” or “that group of people” but about taking a stand in doing what is right and voting for a candidate who will support those they are there to represent. I respect anyone willing to jump in with both feet and run for a position that is unpaid and frankly underappreciated. Chad Coffman is someone who will stand up for what is right and fair in the interest of our children, educators and supporting staff.

Dulcie Clark


Board needs more cleaning up, vote Clark and George

Dear Editor,

With the election for Ennis School Board trustees approaching on May 8, the voters of the Ennis School District are faced with a critical decision. Many people have sensed for some time that something has not been right with how school funds have been managed in Ennis. And now the investigations by the Montana Attorney General and the Montana Teacher’s Retirement System and the request for a full audit by the Madison County Commissioners have verified their concerns. Beginning with last year’s board election, the voters began to address this problem and decided to change the direction of our school board.

There is still much work to be done. The transportation and adult ed funds have been used with almost no regard to their intended purposes. We would be at a loss today to explain what the legitimate costs of our general fund should be. With the upcoming election on May 8, we have the opportunity to continue with the clean-up and get our finances back on track.

The choices that we have among the four candidates running for the two open trustee positions are distinct and clear-cut. Only two of the candidates, Craig George and Bill Clark, have plainly, consistently and unconditionally supported the Madison County Treasurer, the County Attorney, and the County Commissioners in their request for a full and comprehensive audit of all funds.

Please be a part of the solution and give your support to those who want answers and a new start with a clean and solid foundation based on openness and experienced leadership.

Vote for Bill Clark and Craig George in the election for Ennis School Board trustees.

Mike Richmann


The school board needs qualified leadership, Vujovich and Coffman

Dear Editor,

Not so long ago, I participated in a process sponsored by the Ennis Lions Club. This effort was named Ennis 2000 and was initiated around 1997. Through community meetings and surveys, the task was to view what citizens wanted their community to look like in the future and what issues might prevent them from happening. As a business owner and member of the chamber of commerce, the core concern was that of growth. “Just a little more growth” and I can make enough to raise a family and grow my business. At the time of the Ennis 2000 study, I had several conversations with residents of the valley who lived here all of their lives. They warned against too much growth and how it can change the entire make up of our valley. The first thing some people do when they move to a new community is that they want to change it to be more like what they left behind. Well, they were right. “Just a little more growth” has indeed changed our community.

Ennis is no longer the quiet little town with pass through traffic of folks heading to or from Yellowstone Park or Virginia City. It used to be that we took every opportunity to wave at passersby and a stranger was just a friend we hadn’t met yet. With the recent increase in population, that has now been replaced with being more guarded and wary – resulting in not knowing many people with whom we share the valley. We seemed like a strange lot back then, committed to each other, taking care of each other and making our community a safe place to live. As a community, we all struggled to survive, raise a family and contribute to the community that has been so supportive of us. Ennis is such a unique community that we all need to work together to protect our culture.

With the demographics changing so rapidly we really don’t know our neighbors like we once did. Perhaps it is time to require all candidates seeking public office to be required to have background checks. Especially those running for such a sensitive position as school board trustee as those who are employed or volunteer at the school must do.

In the upcoming school trustee election, there are clear choices. Two candidates that have the combination of life long residents, intelligence and a vested interest in the future of the school with children either in or entering soon to the district. On the other hand there are candidates who are either unknown to the community or are untested in the operation of a large business or organization.

I support Josh Vujovich and Chad Coffman because I believe they are both intelligent strong people and will stand by their convictions and protect the school district for the benefit of the students and employees.

Before you vote – know your candidate!

Wayne Black


Rise above the drama, vote for Coffman and Vujovich

Dear Editor,

We, who will vote for Ennis Schools Trustees, should all be concerned about the state of our school community and our community at large. Both have been divided amid finger pointing and accusation. It is well past the time that we all rise above the drama and become engaged in the solution. Please exercise your right and responsibility by voting on May 8. We encourage you to vote for two Ennis Schools Trustees, Chad Coffman and Josh Vujovich.

In recent weeks these two young fathers and family men have announced their candidacy. Each demonstrates the character and qualifications necessary to accomplish what trustees are charged with – solid decision making skills, the willingness to become more informed about the position and a history of service and volunteerism to our schools and our community. They each represent the community at large (not a special interest group) and possess the willingness to do their part to resolve controversy and work to bring about healing. Both have young families, thus a vested interest in the future of our school system.

These two men are seeking your vote so that they may volunteer and serve as Ennis Schools Trustees. If you don’t already know Chad and Josh, you’d serve yourself and the future of our schools by taking the time to call or meet with each of them. Reach Chad at 682-7886 and Josh at 570-9536. Please be informed and base your decision on facts.

Bob and Maria Lake


Vujovich will work to build up community and school

Dear Editor,

I wish to express my delight that Josh Vujovich elected to run for the Ennis School Board. There are two ways in which one might acquire the “biggest house in town.” Some choose to build their house up, to whatever extent they are able, while others choose to raze all other houses to the ground. Mr. Vujovich, most certainly, is identified as the former.

In the years I have known Mr. Vujovich, his alacrity strikes me as one of his most endearing characteristics. No job is too big or too small, and he will enthusiastically pursue greatness in his every endeavor.

I have known Mr. Vujovich nearly 20 years. Our first meeting occurred in Sheridan in 1993 where he was wearing Mustang Green and I donned Panther Purple. On the gridiron, on the court, and on the track field, Mr. Vujovich and I loved to compete between the whistles and enjoy a friendship when not in uniform. However, it wasn’t until I was hired as a teacher at Ennis High School, and moved back to the area, that I fully came to appreciate how unique Mr. Vujovich truly is.

Perhaps the most compelling and admirable characteristic Mr. Vujovich possesses is his knowledge base. Such an attribute comes only from the diligent and constant study of all facets of any particular problem. Regardless of the question, Mr. Vujovich will first seek to understand all aspects of the quandary; only then, after exhaustively sifting through a multitude of possible solutions, will he seek to be understood.

Serving on several boards and committees (including the Hospital Foundation Board, Madison Byways, and several scholarship committees) provides Mr. Vujovich with the necessary tools to work diplomatically with other elected officials in order to reach a sound, well-informed, mutually beneficial agreement concerning whatever task might be at issue. Mr. Vujovich, by my observations, never comes to hasty conclusions. Instead, he will listen, research, consider and then impart what wisdom he may possess.

Mr. Vujovich would never presume to try to convince a voter why he is better than any other candidate in the field. Nor will I. Those who are running for Ennis School Board, each, in their own way, honor the voters of this district with their diverse qualifications and willingness to serve. I feel Mr. Vujovich deserves this position because he is not in the business of tearing things down, pointing out flaws, or finding fault. He is in the business of building this school up, in order that we might, in fact, have the “biggest house in town.”

Kurtis Koenig


New leadership with old values, vote Clark and George

Dear Editor,

Many of you will remember when a man who had robbed several banks tried to scam the Valley Bank. Bill Clark was under sheriff but wasn’t on duty at the time. When he heard what was happening, he quickly got ready and checked in with dispatch and was briefed that deputies were on Virginia City hill pursuing the suspect who had fled off the highway and into the hills. Based on reports as to the exact location of the suspect he decided to head into Ennis hoping that fellow law enforcement would chase the suspect into his path. His judgment proved correct. Several minutes later he spotted the suspect vehicle coming down through the golf course and into his path where he effectively t-boned his vehicle. He and an officer from a neighboring county took him into custody.

Bill has been shot at, at least three times and has had numerous encounters with people with guns and other weapon’s, he has effectively defused the most intense situations without having to use deadly force. Bill has also gone above and beyond the call of duty by heading into the hills on horseback to deliver urgent messages to out of town hunters.

Five months after Bill retired we had a shooting that shook our small town to its core. It weighed heavily on Bill’s mind that he was not able to be there that night to help deputies track down the man who had just taken the life of a family friend as well as wounding several others.

Bill is ready to jump in even when not required to and has proven his commitment to protecting the community and upholding the law.

On Tuesday, May 8, I will be voting for my father-in-law, Bill Clark, for Ennis School Board Trustee. I will also be voting for Craig George, who, like Bill, has devoted his life to serving and protecting. Lisa Frye has endorsed Bill and Craig because they have the background and the backbone to confront our problems head on and move our school and community forward.

Please join me in voting for new leadership with old values.

Tawnya Clark


Supporting students and staff, while dealing with problems head on

Dear Editor,

As a candidate for the Ennis School Board with only the best interests of our students in mind, I ask you to step back and look at the big picture for a moment. Realize that the fundamental reason this school exists is for the education and development of our students. That is my focus.

I had an opportunity to interview 13 of the graduating seniors for the Ennis Chamber of Commerce Scholarship, and I must tell you that I was absolutely blown away by the quality and preparedness of those students. Those students spoke of Advanced Placement classes, FCCLA, Speech and Debate, Football, Basketball, Volleyball, Cross Country, and especially how amazingly supportive the teachers and coaches had been throughout their academic careers. That is something to be extremely proud of for this embattled school district.

Now let us get to this business of the audit. First, the cost, my resources indicate the cost to be in the $150,000 to $250,000 range, and for the depth and scope requested I believe that figure is legitimate. Before I make any significant decisions, I like to weigh the cost and benefit of each action and consider the opportunity cost associated with that action. When considering an audit, I think of the source of the funds, what those funds were budgeted for and what projects or programs may need to be cut to pay for the audit. To take money from the general or flex fund that could be going toward providing learning and developmental opportunities for those students is not acceptable to me.

However, I would be in favor of a special election to transfer funds from the adult education fund to the flex fund for the express purpose of conducting an audit and paying for the special election. I do believe an audit needs to be done to put any unresolved issues to rest and bring some finality to this saga of adult education and transportation funds. Without a full and comprehensive audit, there will always be doubt and suspicion from some, so let us dig in and get all the issues on the table so we can address them in a responsible comprehensive way.

I do not want to “kick the can down the road” and wait for the outcome of the special election and the audit before we begin working on resolution to the school funding issue. We will need to be vigilant and start working on proactive solutions to the problems at hand. If more issues arise through the audit, we will already have a framework in place to deal with those issues.

We all know the issues of today and tomorrow, but once those issues are resolved, and they will be resolved, who do you want overseeing the best interest of the school and students? Please consider the stake all candidates have in promoting the best interest of the students and school.

Thank you for all your time and hopefully your vote on May 8.

Josh Vujovich



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