People that are signed up to vote by mail should have received their “Official” School district ballot over the weekend. Not surprisingly both the Elementary and High School districts are asking the voters to approve an additional tax levy as well as a bonus round of funding for the building reserve fund under the guise of funding for needed roof repairs at the high school.
Like usual voting for all three mill levy increases is “for the kids” and will only cost that mysterious home owner with that $100,000 home a mere $29.60 or $59.20 for those lucky enough to own a home valued at $200,000. How much are you already paying you ask? This is a break down the Corrector put together last year prior to the school election
Name: Levies: Percentage: Dollar Amount:
Elementary General 116.12 15.365% $349.5212
Elementary Transportation 10.41 1.377% $31.3341
Elementary Adult Education 0.00 0.000% $0
Elementary Bus Reserve 3.67 0.486% $11.0467
Elementary Technology 7.24 0.958% $21.7924
Elementary Debt Service 1.72 0.228% $5.1772
Elementary Building Reserve 11.16 1.477% $33.5916
General School Elementary Equal. 33.00 4.366% $99.33
Elementary Retirement 28.61 3.786% $86.1161
High School General 64.05 8.475% $192.7905
High School Transportation 8.31 1.100% $25.0131
High School Bus Reserve 3.13 0.414% $9.4213
Adult Education 0.95 0.126% $2.8595
Technology 3.09 0.409% $9.3009
High School Building Reserve 9.52 1.260% $28.6552
High School Debt Service 0.90 0.119% $2.709
General School High School Equal. 22.00 2.911% $66.22
High School Retirement 13.03 1.724% $39.2203
County Transportation 5.00 0.662% $15.05
TOTAL = 341.91 mill levy which is 45.241% of a city taxpayers total property tax or $1,029.15 per year school tax on that $100,000 home plus the mere $3.91 additional tax we voted on ourselves when we passed last years mill levy. I guess the logic is that if we are already paying this much how does adding another trifling $30 to the bill matter?
Why is nothing ever said about the $579,000 increase the elementary district received last year because of increased enrollment? Do they really need an additional $73,000 this year too? Considering our economy do you really think the elementary district really couldn’t “make do” like the rest of us are forced to exist? Did anyone else notice that the ballot of the High School District tax levy says you are voting to “impose a PERMANENT increase” in local taxes? Ok – I admit it – I am still bitter about the wasted $200,000 on the search – hire – payoff to Mahon – new superintendent search budget and the subsequent kick to the taxpayers groin when we dared ask for information. It is apparent it is still “Top-Secret” and we still are not educated enought to understand but it is time to fight back at the ballot box.
I understand that inflation eats up a portion of the budget each year but unlike any other government entity the local school actually received about a one-percent increase in funding from the state. They DID NOT RECIEVE ANY CUTS to their budget yet here they appear again with a requested mill levy. The “Cuts” you read about in the newspaper are actually reductions in their requested increases. There is absolutely no reason to run a mill levy request. Talk to any teacher and you will hear that the district has Para-professional support staff up the ying-yang, they have an over abundance of administrators and they have many areas where they could actually save a few bucks if they were only so inclined. The reality of the situation is that it is much easier to just claim that “it’s about the kids” and continue to shove additional burdens on the property tax payers while making no changes in management priorities.
In addition I find it strange indeed that the school would choose to also request additional funds for the building reserve claiming it is to repair the high school roof when just a few months ago they were outlining plans to spend over $1.7 million on items such as a new weight training room, boy’s and girl’s locker rooms and etc. Has anyone bothered to check and see exactly how much money is now held in the building reserve fund? The roof was engineered by a professional, it was built by a licensed contractor, a school inspector was paid, a city building permit was issued and a building inspector should have been doing his job yet nowhere in any of the articles about this roof collapse does anyone say they are holding anyone accountable.
The only way to get a handle on the never ending budget increases for the school district is to start voting NO to this never ending mill levy requests. Do you recall that little mistake made by the county treasurer where they missed adding these mill levies on your tax notice? The bill you received for the missed portion of tax on last year’s tax notice was all for school mill levies. I guess all those “it’s only eight or ten dollars per year per house” really do add up to a substantial bill. Think about that before you vote to add another thirty dollars or so to your bill this go around.
Just as a sidenote here is a very informative article found over at the Electric City Weblog about the school district mill levy request in Great Falls