Friday Update from Superintendent Weltz | March 1, 2024

Dear Families,

I’m pleased to share that this week our negotiating teams for the teachers’ union and our district reached a tentative educator contract agreement.

This contract is negotiated approximately every two years by the Helena Education Association and district to determine salaries, benefits and other terms of employment for those who make our district among the most academically competitive in the state – our teachers.

Negotiations took longer this year as the district navigates a budget shortfall that is challenging AA school districts across the state. As Montana’s school funding formula falls further behind the actual costs of providing a quality education, we’ve reached a tipping point. Our district, and other AA districts across the state, are now forced to choose between compensating teachers and preserving programming and staffing.

Despite these challenges, the district and the union were able to reach agreement through a five-day, consensus-based negotiation process led by a third-party facilitator. As we found common ground, we also grew closer as a school community. Two negotiating teams became one, united around a shared goal to find solutions for the challenges facing Montana’s public schools.

Highlights of the contract include:

  • A 1.5% teacher salary increase for each year of the two-year contract. (The salary increase would rise to 3% the second year if all school levies pass this spring).
  • The district will split new increases in healthcare costs for employees through 2025.

I look forward to working together with HEA as we seek solutions at the community and state level to preserve Montana’s long history of quality public education.

With that, I’ll leave you with some of the exciting news from our students this week. Behind each of these activities and achievements is a teacher who made it all possible. Please join me in thanking your student or students’ teachers for all they do.

Enjoy the weekend with your loved ones,


Signature: Rex M. Weltz








Rex M. Weltz, Superintendent
Helena Public Schools


Bruins take top spots in the Northwest in regional photography competition

Capital High student photographers earned three of the top 10 spots in the National Northwest Photographic Communications Contest, a prestigious annual competition held by Northwest College Wyoming and Roberts Camera.

Knoelle Ferguson took first place with her photograph titled “The Loud Thoughts.” Olivia Dewey’s photo, “To Forever and Always,” and Anabella Tangen’s photo, “Colors on the Wall,” placed in the top 10.

Their stunning works have been professionally printed and framed and are on display at the SinClair Gallery on the NCW campus in Powell, Wyoming, through the end of March. Cash awards and prizes will be presented by Roberts Camera of Indianapolis to winning students and the CHS Photography Department.

This is the third year running that CHS has been awarded first place in the contest. Congratulations to Knoelle, Olivia, Anabella and CHS Photography Teacher Genevieve Anderson!

Prospectors strike it rich!

The month of February is associated with love and kindness, with Valentine’s Day on the 14th and the lesser-known Random Act of Kindness Day on the 17th and Leap of Kindness Day on the 29th.

Four Georgians Elementary School Principal Carrie Shinkle decided to go ahead and make the entire month of February a Month of Kindness as the short days of winter and cabin fever cast their gloomy spell in January.

The Prospectors were rewarded with a gold nugget, naturally, for every act of kindness observed.

“They have loved bringing their Kindness Gold Nugget to the office and explaining what they did to receive it and then dropping it in our collection box,” said Four Georgians Secretary Erika Fehr. Principal Shinkle challenged the students to earn a total of 500 Kindness Nuggets by the last day of February and we’re happy to report that they succeeded.

These nuggets are priceless.

An elementary-aged boy holds his "Nugget of Kindness" Certificate


The Bruins want your blood

Students at Capital High are collecting another priceless commodity. On Friday, March 8, the Bruins will hold their annual TROYSTRONG Blood Drive, sponsored by the Capital High HOSA (health occupations) Club. While the Bruins have long held blood drives, the students challenged themselves to holding three blood collection events this year.

Their first blood drive in October collected a record 32 units, enough blood to save 92 lives. If you would like to donate, visit and use the sponsor code CapitalHigh.

Spring Break childcare available March 25-29

Join SACC (School Age Child Care) for five days of fun and activities during Spring Break. Care is available 7:30 am to 5:30 pm for enrolled Helena Public Schools students grades K-5. The cost $40a day per child. To register, contact Jamie at