The Missoula County Public School Board of Trustees officially confirmed Mark Thane as the interim superintendent on Wednesday evening during a meeting at Sentinel High School.

The vote was unanimous, sort of. The only no vote actually came from Board President Dr. Joseph Knapp, who spoke glowingly of Thane's qualifications through out the meeting.

photo by Peter Christian

"It's not a vote against Mark Thane," Dr. Knapp said. "It's a vote on the contract being offered to Mark Thane. I think from the salary level, what is going to be expected of him in this position over the next year, my vote is against the package that's being presented to him."

Thane will receive $145,000 for the year from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016. His predecessor, Dr. Alex Apostle received a controversial raise in 2013 that paid him over $200,000 per year.

Following his confirmation by the board of trustees, Thane said his biggest challenge would be shepherding the $158 million school bond issue that will come before the voters in November.

"I think the community just needs to develop a level of awareness regarding the condition of facilities and the safety and security needs that we have and certainly the need for technology infrastructure," Thane said. "I think if we can appropriately message that, the community will come to understand the need."

Thank recognized the fact that this bond issue is a once-in-a-lifetime request for the voters.

"I know that we have just one shot at this major facility project, and if we don't position ourselves appropriately and communicate appropriately with the community, we won't be successful," he said.

Dr. Alex Apostle has accepted a similar position starting June 1 with a school district in Shelton, Washington.