Privileges of Residency

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How many of you would believe that I was very happy on Tuesday when I went to renew my auto registration and pay the associated fees? It’s true: I felt proud to pay “full fare” finally, now that I am retired from the Air Force and have officially claimed Montana as my home. Military folks in Great Falls who have a “home of record” (residency) in another state – as I did – only have to pay a portion of the auto registration fee, so this was my first time paying the full amount ($133). It felt good. Seriously. And being able to park, get in the building, pay the money, get the sticker, and back to my car in 13 minutes – damn, but I love Great Falls!

And, coincidentally, Tuesday was also the day that I received my ballot for the school funding levy – another good thing about being a Montana resident: finally, I can vote as a Montanan! Too bad it was to vote against, rather than for, something: I voted no on the levy. Shortly after completing my ballot, I happened to read the screed by local attorney Elizabeth Best and felt even better about my vote. Her attempt to link the Iraq war with a tax levy for local schools was…well, just bizarre. As GeeGuy noted, she probably did more harm than good for her cause. And the mailer that I received last week from YES, which proclaimed that “It is not an understatement to say that the future of Great Falls Public Schools depends on this levy,” also probably turned off more people than not.

But on the issue itself: the GFPS folks do an amazing job. I have nothing but good things to say about the schools here in GF that my kids attended. It seems to me that the schools are doing a very good job with the funding that they have. Everyone would like more money, but with finite resources and an already excellent system, I just don’t see the need at this time.



  1. I’ve got a feeling that the levi won’t pass. Oh well, it never hurts to ask I guess.

    Money may be in pretty short supply in the next few years I think. What with all of the ripping off our banks have done over the past few years.

    Hey, here’s a thought, why don’t the schools, or others that need money, get off to the investment bankers and ask them for it. Seems they are the ones just dripping with money these days.

  2. You know Dave, if you are so excited about paying full price for your plates, I have a couple of cars you can pay for and you would really feel good 🙂

  3. I’ve always felt that our teachers were underpaid. Yet in growing up here in Great Falls, and attending K-12, then moving to CA for 17 years, then moving back here and having my kids attend schools – I have to agree that with the funding they have, the teachers here do some excellent work.

    I would like to post a bumper sticker that says it all:

    It will be a Great Day indeed when the Schools get all the money they need, and the Airforce has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber!

    (sorry David!)

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