Levy Thoughts

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Great Falls voters rejected a $1-million school levy on Tuesday, and you’d think that we are turning children out on to the streets in order to eke out some sort of Dickensian living in tattered rags.

Well, maybe not quite that harsh, but there are plenty of folks who seem to think that voting against the levies means that Great Falls is against education, against children, against the future, etc. Here are some examples:

Jack wrote: “Businesses looking for places to relocate will now see that Great Falls does not support their children.”

A commenter over at KRTV said: “It is really unfortunate that voters consider education a burden rather than an investment in the future. We will lose jobs and some very good teachers,some of whom have invested a lot in this community’s children, in order to have a couple of extra lattes or an extra pack of cigarettes.”

Over at the Tribune, some more criticism from a commenter: “Ignorant GF a – holes. Your anti everything attitudes are exactly the reason GF is becoming the state laughing stock. You are and embarrassment to the community- it’s no wonder we can’t attract new business, we cut the legs out of existing business, and cannot attract ANY young people back to or into the community.”

OK, let’s get back to reality: the Great Falls Public School district still has a estimated annual operating budget of $100-million dollars. That’s $100,000,000. The levies represented 1% of that amount, and as noted by the group Citizens Against Higher Taxes: “Could you cut 1% from your budget without saying the sky is falling?”

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4 Comments

  1. David;

    You are welcome to your opinion, but you really drank the Kool-aid over this one. The reality is that the budget is $65 Million (audited financials). Total program cuts that will have to be taken will now have to be $3,098,000 ($1.3 Million in planned cuts before the levy, $800 thousand in decreased support from the Legislature and failure of the $998 thousand levy). That works out to a 4.8% cut, not 1%.

    What is that going to mean in terms of programs? Programs that exist now that will not exist next year are likely to be:

    * Elimination of middle school language instruction
    * Elimination of at least one of the SRO (police officers in the schools)
    * Elimination of the HIP-HOP after school homework-help program
    * Possible elimination of most of the elementary school environmental education program (science-based forestry, biology, etc. done in the “field”)

    The people spoke and we will listen. Programs will be cut and class sizes will be increased. But don’t pretend that it will be painless or that we will be able to continue to provide the same quality educational opportunities next year.

  2. Dave, I agree with Aaron. These are cuts that will have an impact on our kids and probably our community at large. Those programs are important, and they deserve to be funded adequately. Sad that people don’t dig a little deeper, and don’t as Aaron said “drink the Kool-aid.” I think you have more savvy than that.

  3. Please. Enrollment has dropping in Great Falls for 40 years. And answer on every mill levy increase is the same as the one before. The pro-levy folks had better come some better charts, graphs, answers or they’re going to lose more often than they win.

  4. The average Great Falls Joe and Jolene Levy naysayers have just shot themselves in the foot! Becareful of what you ask for as you just might get it…and now you have. Teaching positions (Meaning jobs) will be eliminated affecting the overall wellbeing of the community with more than just financial woes and factors. For the price of a Pizza or two a year you have denied student programs and quality teachers to the kids of Great Falls. Shame on you for you selfishness and lack of understanding on how school’s are financed.

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