Education News

Mar 31, 2011 12:43 AM by Breanna Roy (KPAX News)

MCPS asks taxpayers to support schools in 4 levies

MISSOULA- Missoula County Public Schools trustees are frustrated state lawmakers have not made a decision about school funding.

During a special board meeting Wednesday, one trustee said they now have to "leap before they look" by estimating how much money they'll need from taxpayers in order to meet the deadline for a May 3rd election.

Trustees received new figures from the Office of Public Instruction Wednesday that suggest a bigger deficit than schools projected.

But instead of raising the requested levies to meet the latest projection, the board decided to keep the numbers the same and certify their ballots as planned.

MCPS business and operations manager Pat McHugh calculated new numbers, but urged trustees to go with the original estimates.

"This is the number we talked about with our budget board and levy committee last night; this is then number that I think we oughta stick with," he said. Superintendent Alex Apostle agreed.

"We've kinda made a commitment to the public that we're gonna be asking for and it's unfortunate that we have this additional information and it wasn't calculated in our request, but I find it very difficult, at this point, to change the rules," Apostle said.

The board decided that in addition to running two building reserve levies, it will ask voters to approve two general fund levies during Wednesday night's meeting.

Based on a home assessed at $200,000, the elementary building reserve levy would cost $15.50 annually. The secondary building reserve levy would cost $8.05 a year. Meanwhile the elementary general fund levy would cost $13.49 a year and the high school levy would cost $12.69 annually if approved. Voters who live in both districts would pay both levies.

All four requests will be in the voter's hands on May 3rd.

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