The two voted levies are on the spring ballot specifically designed to support the Helena Public Schools. Both of these levies align with the district’s general fund, one for our elementary district and the other for our high school district. The general fund supports a majority of the district’s needs associated with our schools. For example, the general fund accounts for a majority of our employee salaries including our outstanding educators, administrators, paraeducators, and support staff who work directly with our children every day.
The $301,446 elementary levy and the $108,454 high school levy will directly support our day-to-day efforts as a district. More than ever, we value your ongoing support and appreciate everyone who exercises their right to vote.
The elementary levy will have an impact of $3.70 on a home with a market value of $100,000 and $7.40 on a home with a market value of $200,000. The high school levy will have an impact of $1.22 on a home with a market value of $100,000 and $2.43 on a home with a market value of $200,000.
Passage of both levies will increase the taxes on a home with a market value of $100,000 by approximately $4.92 per year and on a home with a market value of $200,000 by approximately $9.83 per year.
Our general fund (elementary and high school) supports everything from books and school supplies for our students and teachers to employee salaries and benefits. A significant number of needs associated with our students and schools are addressed through the general fund.
The current school closure has complicated nearly every aspect of our schools and district including our budget. However, few costs have been reduced as for every area of decreased funding there are areas of increased costs. Technology remains a substantial part of our remote learning environment. Many of the associated costs associated with technology were previously unknown and therefore, unbudgeted for. To date, we have connected our students with nearly 4,000 Chromebook devices. In addition, to support those devices, we have helped families connect and improve their internet solutions including increased bandwidth and hot spots.
Though not on the ballot, the non-voted levies are for very specific purposes -they do not go into our general fund. Our tuition fund, for example, is used primarily to fund one-to-one assistance for special education students who need it. I believe this is our moral obligation, but it’s worth noting that we have state and federal obligations to meet the needs of these children as well.
Furthermore, our transportation levy is necessary to pay for our buses. We have one bus contractor serving our area. It is a necessary expense. Our building reserve levy is necessary for the upkeep of our facilities, many of which are quite old. It, too, is necessary and does not meet our needs. Our adult education levy funds critical credit recovery for students who would otherwise go through life without a high school degree. It is necessary to help these students become productive members of our society and economy.
Funding for the Helena Public Schools stays within our community and directly supports both teaching and learning. Funds are utilized to provide the quality of education that our students and families need, require, and expect. With a significant number of our graduating seniors staying in Helena or returning to Helena in their lifetimes, education in the Helena Public Schools directly contributes to the future success of our community.
If you have additional questions, please email our Board of Trustees at email@example.com.