School Funding and the District
January 29, 2020
Dear Glasgow School District Community Member,
School funding formulas are complex and confusing. To simplify things, our district receives direct state aid payment equivalent to about 44 percent of our general funds. According to the Montana OPI document, "Understanding Montana School Finance and School District Budgets," the general fund is defined as the fund used to account for the financing of a district's operation and maintenance costs not accounted for in another fund. Some examples of the general fund expenditures include salaries and benefits, supplies associated with pupil instruction, administration, support services to students, loans paid to the Board of Investments, and extracurricular activities not paid by the student activities fund. The general fund is the primary budgeting fund of a district. This school year the Glasgow School District will receive 133.26 mills which go into our general fund budget from you, our taxpayers, and we thank you. We will be asking you to raise 6.9 mills (approximately $106,000) to 140.06 total estimated mills for next year. The total mills the school district asks for is currently 250.42, the total estimated mills will increase to 257.32 with the 6.9 mill increase. A mill is one-thousandth (.001) of a dollar. School districts can determine how much a mill will raise by taking the total taxable value in a district (an amount provided to the school district by the county assessor) and multiplying it by .001. This result is equal to what one mill will raise in actual dollars. The approximate dollars this will cost a $100,000 homeowner would be $9.18, and a $200,000 homeowner would be $18.36 per year. The impact on your total tax bill for residents and landowners outside the city limits would be less than 1.2 percent increase, residents inside the city limits and St. Marie would be less than 1 percent increase. Keep in mind that there is a difference between bonds and levies, bonds are for buildings and levies are for learning.
Glasgow School District has faced some challenging situations for the past couple of years. Our voters have not passed a mill levy for our school district. A year ago the general fund levy failed by 46 votes, 704 against, 658 for. We will be asking you the taxpayers of the Glasgow School District to raise your taxes through this levy request.
Over the past years, we have worked hard to cut down our expenses, to make the reduction in revenue more bearable. With a healthier infrastructure and cutbacks on expenses, we are spending less money now in spite of an increase in salaries, benefits and inflationary costs (fuel, supplies, etc). With these reductions, it has not hurt our ability to educate our children in this community and I refuse to let it. As your Superintendent, I will continue to do everything I can to make sure our kids get the high-quality education and opportunities to which they have a right. OUR students will not pay the price for our declining revenue resource.
As previously mentioned, we will be around $106,000 short in revenue this year. The Glasgow School Board of Trustees has decided to run a mill levy again this year. This was not an easy decision to make by our school board members; however, in order to ensure that our school can and will continue to provide for the educational future of our children, school, and community we all need to chip in.
As your superintendent of the Glasgow School District, it is my job to balance the needs of the students, the demands of the district, and the interests of the community. The school board is often required to make difficult decisions that impact all three. I know that Glasgow, as do all rural communities, understands the critical role that a school plays in maintaining a healthy community.
The school election, conducted by the county for the first time, will be a mail-in ballot only and those will be in the mail around April 17, 2020. Ballots must be returned to the Valley County elections administrator no later than 8 p.m., May 4, 2020. At this time Glasgow will elect two trustee positions and hold the levy vote. I encourage all readers to vote when their ballot arrives in-the mail.