The Gazette is once again off base on their position.
As I testified during the House Education hearing, Lockwood is not interested in the division of assets. We just do not want Billings to close their borders to Lockwood students that want to continue to attend their high schools.
I do not understand why there is so much concern from the AA districts regarding non-voted levies: these can all be factored in to the negotiated transition levy under the current bill language. We fully expect to make their Building Reserve, Technology Fund, etc. whole during the transition. This is not an elaborate scheme to avoid paying a few mills! Eventually there should be a savings to taxpayers due to a reduction in the Transportation Fund.
The impact on Billings HS taxpayers for these non-General Fund accounts is estimated at 1.6 mils. The impact on the general Fund will zero out after their increased averaging for ANB ends. These calculations are assuming that the taxable value in Billings stays stagnant, as the area grows this impact becomes less and less.
The actual truth is that Billings HS taxpayers will likely not even see a noticeable increase!
"Graduation Matters." Does it? When does it matter? Does it only matter for certain students? Does it still matter even when one district stands to lose money to another? Or, does not being part of the "right neighborhood" justify sacrificing the futures for some kids over othe
In this era of knee-jerk politics, meaningful dialog is often the first casualty. And such may unfortunately be the case with the issue of public funding for private schools in the 2015 Montana Legislature that convenes on Monday.
The pace is hectic as the midpoint of the legislature is Friday. Major policy bills, including the CSKT Water Compact, Montana Healthcare, and Dark Money rules, are generating statewide controversy. Out of area special interests are looking to buy influence via both radio and print ads, inferring threats of primaries against non-compliant legislators. Bills get spun into what they are not, and “black helicopters” are being seen everywhere. Sadly, this is politics as usual.
Much has already been made of the news that the Montana House Education Committee will be led during the 2015 legislative session by two prominent supporters of school choice and charter schools. But since Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock is likely to veto any attempts to bring school choice to Montana, it’s the long game that is…
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