Friday Message from Superintendent Weltz | April 7, 2023

2023 Helena Public Schools Election Update:

  • Watch for your ballot to arrive soon! The county will send your mail-in ballot by U.S. Mail on April 14. Your post-marked ballot is due back to the Lewis & Clark County Elections Office May 2.
  • On the ballot:

Building Reserve Levies

Helena Public Schools is grateful for our community’s long-time support of its Building Reserve Levies to pay for regular care and maintenance of school buildings and grounds.

The Building Reserve Levies are the main source of funding for the operation of school district buildings – everything from heating, plumbing and electrical work to maintaining rooftops and parking lots.

There are two Building Reserve Levies on the ballot – one for the Elementary District (K-8) and one for the High School District (9-12)

General Fund Mill Levy

General Fund Levy dollars pay for everything from books and school supplies to staff salaries and benefits. The General Fund also pays for day-to-day operational costs such as electricity, natural gas, water and custodial supplies.

These dollars pay for the district’s most fundamental operational needs.


April 7, 2023

Dear Helena Public Schools Families and Staff,

Spring (at least as we know it Montana) has sprung! I hope you’re able to get outside with your loved ones this beautiful weekend to enjoy the change of the seasons.

Our student athletes are certainly welcoming the warmer weather as they dig into their spring sports seasons. I want to wish our softball, tennis, volleyball and track and field competitors an outstanding season!

Speaking of Track and Field, I’m excited to announce that Capital High Boys Track Coach Lon Carter is among four coaches statewide who will be inducted into the Montana Coaches Association Hall of Fame in July!

With a coaching career that has spanned 62 years, Coach Lon Carter has served the student athletes of the Helena Public Schools for 54 years, 50 of those years at Capital High School. In fact, he started his career as the boys basketball coach at the brand new Capital High School in 1974. Coach Carter aided in  one state football championship and 6 top 3 state finishes in track & field including 2 Class AA State Championships in 1998 and 1999. Congratulations, Coach Carter, and thank you for more than half a century of service to our student athletes!

Even as spring sports season gets underway, it’s hard to believe the Annual Vigilante Parade is only four weeks from today on Friday, May 5!

Students, staff and community volunteers are setting the wheels in motion and seeking donations to support this time-honored community tradition (HHS donation link | CHS donation link). One of the best parts of the parade is the community spirit that pours over as the floats proceed down Last Chance Gulch.

Rotary Club gets students ready for spring showers

So much that we do in our Helena Public Schools would not be possible without the support of our community partners. I was reminded of this recently when I attended a meeting of the Rotary Club of Helena. I was invited to share information on our upcoming school levy election. But first, the Rotarians had a surprise for the district, presenting us with boxes of brand-new rubber boots for students to keep their feet dry during spring showers. We had some of our students model the new galoshes. Now all we need is puddles!

The Rotarians do extraordinary work around the globe and we’re fortunate to have the strong presence of two Rotary Clubs in Helena. The Rotary Club of Helena Sunrise is a contributing sponsor of the Helena Education Foundation’s Fabulous Firsts program, which provides a new, hardcover book to every first-grader in the district every year.

Thank you, Rotarians, and to the hundreds of volunteers across our community who serve our schools in so many ways.

2023 school election ballots coming soon

In these Friday letters, I often highlight our relationships with our community partner organizations – military, businesses, utilities, arts organizations, medical institutions, non-profits, law enforcement local government – the list goes on and on. Without them, we couldn’t fulfill our mission to graduate young adults who are prepared to succeed as lifelong learners and responsible citizens.

Likewise, our Helena community couldn’t survive without the pipeline of future employees, volunteers and leaders that our public schools graduate each year. Each week in this letter we celebrate our remarkable student successes and the outstanding work of the teachers who make them possible. They are the living, breathing result of how we use our district resources, made possible by the support of our community.

In other words, strong schools equal a strong community, and a strong community equals strong schools.

Our public school funding model recognizes this, providing a way for citizens to directly engage in funding their local schools through the election process.

Election season is now upon us, as the Lewis & Clark County Elections Office prepares to mail out School and Special Purpose District Election Ballots. The ballots will be sent via U.S. Mail on Friday, April 14. Post-marked ballots are due back to the Lewis & Clark County Elections Office on Tuesday, May 2.

Please watch for your ballot in the mail so you can participate in this important civic process.

Survey results will inform committees

I also want to thank all who participated in Helena Public Schools Facilities Survey and the Helena Public Schools Budget Survey earlier this spring. Your feedback will inform the work of the Facilities Master Plan Stakeholders group and the Budget Recommendation Consensus Committee as they address some of our district’s biggest challenges.

My administration is leaning into these challenges, including the budget shortfall faced by our district, along with other AA districts in Montana.

We’re making the budgetary adjustments that must be made while being strategic and pro-active about solutions: Seeking grants, reducing costs wherever possible, maximizing the use of our current funding, and addressing the state and federal funding models that are no longer keeping pace with needs.

As we do this difficult, but necessary work, we will not let it define our district.

Hard work and positivity are the best path forward and we will stay focused on what matters most – our community’s children. We will continue to provide quality education to our students. And we will continue to share their news and celebrate their successes with our community. I hope you can find a few minutes to catch up on our latest Student & Educator Recognitions. There will be more to come next week.

Please help us spread the word. If you know someone who would like to sign up for this newsletter – a grandparent, an aunt or uncle, or perhaps a business owner who would be interested in the district programs that develop future employees – please share this link to sign up for our mailing list.

Student Board Representatives wanted

Finally, I want to share an opportunity for aspiring student leaders.

Helena Public Schools is seeking two student representatives to sit with the Helena Public Schools Board of Trustees, one from each of the district’s two high schools. This is an exciting opportunity for students to represent their fellow students.

Student representatives serve a one-year term during their junior or senior year, with new members seated at the June 13, 2023 regular Board of Trustees meeting.

Completed applications must be sent to Barb Ridgway at Lincoln Center no later than 4 p.m. on May 8, 2023. Interviews are scheduled for May 10 and 11. The Board Interview Committee will include Trustees, the Helena High and Capital High Principals, District Chief of Staff Barb Ridgway and outgoing student representatives Keiran Boyle (CHS) and Loreley Drees (HHS).

And a quick reminder for families of high school students that Tuesday, April 11, is ACT testing day. School will be mandatory for juniors, and optional for freshmen, sophomores and seniors. If you are the parent of a junior, please be sure your student arrives at school in time to be seated in their assigned testing room by 8 a.m.

Enjoy this beautiful weekend!


Signature: Rex. M. Weltz

Rex Weltz, Superintendent
Helena Public Schools