Gazette opinion: Now is time to support Billings' future Apr 7, 2013 106 × Post a comment Emoticons [smile] [beam] [wink] [sad] [cool] [innocent] [rolleyes] [whistling] [lol] [huh] [tongue] [love] [sleeping] [yawn] [unsure] [angry] [blink] [crying] [ohmy] [scared] [sleep] [sneaky] [tongue_smile] [thumbdown] [thumbup] [censored] [happybirthday] [ban] [spam] [offtopic] [batman] [ninja] [pirate] [alien] Comment Text Cancel Post comment × Report Cancel Report Abuse × Watch this discussion. Stop watching this discussion. Get an email notification whenever someone contributes to the discussion Notifications from this discussion will be disabled. Cancel Start watching Stop watching (106) comments Back to story MauriceMatthew Apr 7, 2013 6:53am Thank you, Billings Gazette! billy banger Apr 7, 2013 6:55am it is a catch 22, good schools boost property values so they can ask for more money each time. What about the three new schools they are talking about, We the taxpayers have to pay for a library which nobody will use we cannot afford these constant requests for MONEY.Just VOTE NO NO NO. dave2011 Apr 7, 2013 8:34pm Agreed! remarkable Apr 7, 2013 7:23am Perhaps the Board didn't read the dozens of comments from readers in yesterday's story re visiting the local schools. A high percentage were negative and disinclined to feel sympathy for a school district that's been the recipient of billions of tax dollars over the decades but who always seems to be whining for more and more. There's no excuse for the schools to be in disrepair or the students shortchanged when it comes to materials and resources. The problem, the "elephant in the room" that the press seems to always ignore is the education unions that pocket the money-pay themselves first-before the kids. I recently visited my Midwestern, over a half century old, grade school. It's gorgeous, updated, clean, modern. All 21,000 students next year will receive a Chromebook or Ipad from their schools. Kids always come first there. Billings ' schools are poorly run, and the district would be a joke if it weren't so pathetic. Lose your unions, Billings, or continue to have lousy schools. tfrumbacher Apr 7, 2013 9:47am Remarkable,Exactly which midwestern city is this precisely? Give us a location so we can do some research. I'd love to be able to go and look at the level of funding paid for by the tax base in that district. SD2 is woefully underfunded because of the bull headed belief of people like yourself that somehow this district is pouring money down an imaginary drain. I'd be willing to bet that if you posted the name of the town and district to which you refer and did some solid research you'd find that they pass mill levies and properly fund their system. So, by your own account, we SHOULD be passing the levy so that our kids can have a "chromebook" or "iPad" and do wonderfully like this imaginary district to which you refer. Pelase, give us the details. catrail Apr 7, 2013 7:36am Yes, SD2 schools need improvements. But, the first example, that backpacks have to be stacked on the floor, is ridicuous. The rooms have walls; put hooks on the wall and hang the backpacks. Or, hang them from a hook on the side of the student's desk. Yesterday the Gazette reported about the McKinley basement rooms of horror where kids and teachers must go. That was fixable; bus them to warm, cozy Lincoln Center or to the schools that do have empty rooms. If SD2 can't even handle simple fixes like this, why would we trust them with more money? Do they really care about students? Then why are the McKinley basement rooms of horror, 50-60 degrees, cracked floor, paint peeling, no windows, still being used? Show us things that you have fixed, like the McKinley mess and backpacks off the floor. Don't you realize many taxpayers make do with much less than they really need? We look for inexpensive fixes; SD 2 must, also. Show us what you have done; then maybe we will listen. mtcwgrl101 Apr 7, 2013 7:52am I agree with Remarkable - read the dozens of comments on yesterday's story. Vote No! None of the money that they are requesting is going to benefit our children or the schools, just feeding the greed and I am done. EGilbertsen Apr 7, 2013 7:59am its hard to vote for mill levees when so much inappropriateness is going on---seriously fire some of the administration and move forward---dont rehire and use that money for repairs and new teachers == be more creative w funding...the principal quoted for saying computers used for typing is an outdated reference---terry---only let those who know what they r doing to be speaking---wake up ---remarkable may be on to something---good luck---also sadly teachers who r to be teaching r on fb during the day---not cool---they should be facilitating---plus---some principals children or teachers children r using drugs and drinking---again not cool---if you cant handle ur own---how r u going to handle a class room or a school? facts and opinions Apr 7, 2013 8:10am Remarkable, can you explain to me how exactly the union gets the money from mill levies? I'm not seeing the connection and would like to understand your statement better. Banksy Apr 7, 2013 8:26am Shouldn't a newspaper report unbiased facts rather than printing it's own liberal opinions? MyOpinion Apr 7, 2013 12:39pm Nope, not when it is an Opinion editorial. facts and opinions Apr 7, 2013 8:52am That is why it's called "Gazette Opinion" Bansky. Free speech I think. facts and opinions Apr 7, 2013 9:03am Gilbertson, it doesn't matter if your parents are teachers, doctors, cops or pastors. Kids are gonna do what they do what they do no matter how well parents teach them between right and wrong. To throw that in like a teacher or principals kid should be perfect is silly. I think most parents do the best they know how and hope for the best. facts and opinions Apr 7, 2013 9:05am As for FB while working, pretty sure ALL employees in ALL professions should be avoiding that during work hours. dvlfrmdnvr Apr 7, 2013 9:07am The way I see it, only home owners pay this tax bill so only home owners should be allowed to cast a ballot. native mt Apr 7, 2013 10:30am dvlfrmdnvr, PERFECT! dvlfrmdnvr Apr 7, 2013 1:47pm Sorry I need to correct a mistake. Not just home owners but all "Property Owners" staceyronq Apr 7, 2013 9:09am I vote yes. I don't want billings having dumb people. Just another Apr 7, 2013 9:11am My blood boils when I read most of your ignorant comments. Some of you have NO idea what actually happens in those schools every day. Until you have spent a significant amount of time in these schools, you have no right telling others how to vote! Do not punish these children based on what the district has done in the past. Ignorance is the only word that comes to mind. IGNORANCE!!!! tfrumbacher Apr 7, 2013 9:43am Right there with you. Every time I see a headline like this I click the comments with dread. The depth of the ignorance shown by some of the comments is staggering. I would be of the opinion that ANYONE who wants to vote on a mill levy should spend at least 2 or 3 days volunteering in a public school. Preferably a kindergarten with 24, 25, or more kids. The will learn that classroom technology is NOT used for cruising FaceBook, it's used for kids and it is tragically outdated. Teachers barely have time to teach with classes that size much less "who r to be teaching r on fb during the day". Your comments illuminate your lack of qualification to make any kind of statement. Jus Wundrin Apr 7, 2013 10:12am What the district, state and federal gubments have done, and is still doing, IS harming the children.The schools need changes, radical changes. Changes that will be FOR the children. native mt Apr 7, 2013 10:27am Just another, I grew up here. So, we "all our life Billings folks" DO know what we are talking about. I LOVE children but I do NOT love how much property tax we pay for and it's never enough. I think that we need to force the administrative end to cut back and think truly for the kids. The children never see it! As you blood boils for one reason, mine boils of what I see as YOUR IGNORANCE! mtcwgrl101 Apr 7, 2013 9:23am Just another ... I have spent time in these schools, for a significant amount of time. Matter of fact I spent 12 years in this district and turned out just fine. I can't tell you how frustrating it was for me as a student to know that the money that was supposed to be coming to the students and the schools never came. I was incredibly involved in politics as a kid and understood that this so called "school money" we were never going to see. My decision to vote No has nothing to do with ignorance, it has everything to do with people using our children as an excuse to get more money when it is not intended for them. native mt Apr 7, 2013 10:22am mtcwgrl101, I am on the same page as you! They already get 50% of our property tax! For the life of me, I cannot understand how that is NOT enough! akaks Apr 7, 2013 10:23am Please clarify how hiring more teachers for overcrowding in our schools is an excuse to get more money? Jus Wundrin Apr 7, 2013 9:55am Parents, do yourself a favor and remove your children from the public school. The terrorist bill ayers (obamas friend) inspired common core curriculum is a danger to your children, and the future of our country.townhall.com/columnists/rachelalexander/2013/03/18/common-core-whats-hidden-behind-the-language-n1537017/page/full/www.freedomworks.org/blog/rousseau/the-battle-against-common-core-standardswhatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/tag/bill-ayers/Overcrowding is just a drop in the bucket compared to this. Just another Apr 7, 2013 9:58am Cwgrl: that was then. We can't expect change if we aren't doing anything. I truly believe the new super intendant has the student's best interest at heart and wants to do what is right. Billings-center-of-Montana-Wyoming Apr 7, 2013 10:00am We have great kids!Bozeman and Missoula support their schools. Finally time for billings to support the kids Johnboy777 Apr 7, 2013 10:19am The idiots, not the Kardasians, will vote to tax themselves more you can bet on it. MyOpinion Apr 7, 2013 12:41pm Come on, Johnboy... Your argument is that those that will bring their house into order are idiots? I will argue that it is those that let the place go into ruins by being stingy that are the idiots. Perhaps you were educated in a place that was rundown yourself... cme Apr 7, 2013 7:27pm anybody that votes to charge themselfs more taxs is an idiot. lampshade19 Apr 7, 2013 10:19pm themselfs? taxs? It's "themselves" and "taxes"- you need to go back to school, cme! mtcwgrl101 Apr 7, 2013 10:20am I hope that is true. I do have children in the school district right now and have seen what it is like in the classrooms. I do want what's best for my children and their education. I however, am more than a little concerned since the school district doesn't have a great track record. Just Think Apr 7, 2013 10:23am Oh my goodness, just stop it. Check the district's books, go to classrooms, and look harder before you accuse this administration of waste or dishonesty or whatever is being insinuated here. I have children in the district and follow it all very closely. There is no waste. And if there was waste in the past, it's not appropriate to punish this generation. I hear and understand your frustrations from previous years, but it's time to let residual bad feelings from strikes, unpopular administrators and personal anecdotes about disliking a teacher, get in the way of probably our State's most important responsibility -- educating children. joe cool Apr 7, 2013 10:23am Remember when nurses, teachers, firefighters & municipal workers crashed the economy & took billions in bonuses & bailouts? Me Either AnotherMontanaNative Apr 7, 2013 12:24pm Funny you should mention that, Mr. Cool. Overpaid public wokers in Ca. ,along with their insanely high pensions after a mere 20 years of 'service' are a major reason why that state is billions in debt. Have you looked at the economy there, sir? They not only hope for a bailout, they will expect it. joe cool Apr 7, 2013 1:10pm Last time I checked billings wasn't in california your a fool and probably another mt rancher that think you work harder than everybody else just because you work for 8 bucks an hour with no benefits or retirement doesn't mean everyone else should. Jus Wundrin Apr 7, 2013 1:34pm What happens in California........ newt Apr 7, 2013 2:02pm Talk about well informed...How many Ranchers found this post enlightening? Does joe cool realize what kind of capital investment a Rancher has to make? What kind of education tools he must have? This is another example of the Under-educated forming opinions and hence public policy...joe cool must be the result of the public school system AnotherMontanaNative Apr 7, 2013 5:35pm A fool? l agree . . . a fool for thinking that you might not jump to ridiculous conclusions and rely on snarky comments to suffice for informed dialogue. akaks Apr 7, 2013 10:28am Personally, I think the most important things that need to be done is: 1) hire more teachers; 2) build an elementary school on the west end (COTTONWOOD), 3) evaluate the boundaries city-wide so that there is no over crowding in any school. In that order. Storm Apr 7, 2013 10:32am I agree with everything in the article but until we get rid of excess administration and until the teachers quit holding us hostage with their constant whining about needing more money, people will not vote for this. I know I wont. mtcwgrl101 Apr 7, 2013 10:51am Okay, so if there is No waste when it comes to money, then tell me why I am watching my children's teachers pay out of their own pockets for supplies for their classrooms? Supplies that are required, and having the parents of these kids buy supplies for the classroom? This is NOT including school supplies you buy at the beginning of the year. If there is no waste, why are our schools falling apart and in disrepair? Why have we had to close schools, because we couldn't afford to keep up on them? This has nothing to do with my feelings towards superintendent(s), teachers strike, or a teacher I didn't like. It has Everything to do with coming from a parents point of view, I am seeing a lot of things that are not adding up. I want my children to have the best education possible and it is my responsibility to vote on this aspect as I deem fit. MyOpinion Apr 7, 2013 12:43pm There will always be some waste in any organization. But the problems you speak of are from a lack of funding by the state legislature, and from the community not stepping up in years past. Jus Wundrin Apr 7, 2013 1:42pm If you want it done right, do it yourself.No waste? Start with the garbage cans after the lunch hours. Then look at the empty spaces in the Lincoln center, followed by the cost of vandalism. Im not saying that your teachers, or you, arent having to buy things for the students, but the waste spent in other areas could have been funding that.Want new buildings? The state south of us took care of that. Go down there and take a tour of the new Cowley school. Keep electing people that favor the environment over your kids, and you get what you deserve. native mt Apr 7, 2013 11:02am When I was in high school in 1976 the teachers went on strike. My dad was a union man so he told me that I could not cross the picket line. I went to school anyway. Know what? The strike was about a pay raise for the teachers and it too was touted "for the kids". They got their raise except it went to the administrative end, NOT the teachers anyway. Thus started my long path of the realization of the malfunction that is SD#2! All us long term folks have been repeatedly bitten by the SD #2 deception. Sorry I vote NO. It's like abuse, and we need to stop it's cycle. No more enabling. Just Think Apr 7, 2013 11:12am Administration had been cut back...significantly. I checked because I too wanted to know why books were cut last year. Our funding is set up so that not only is Billings being "dinged" for the outdated economies of scale model, resulting in a much smaller per pupil expenditure than any other city in the State, but also a local tax base that doesn't understand our part if the funding responsibility. These levies are not intended to infuse EXTRAs, they are required to fund basics. And every other major city in the State seems to understand that BUT US. That's just the hard facts whether we have anecdotes to prove otherwise or not. Bring me the budget you have questions about and then we'll talk. Otherwise operating from helicopter analysis doesn't get us anywhere when we are discussing one of the largest employers and budgets in our city. AnotherMontanaNative Apr 7, 2013 12:10pm nice try . . . we understand all too well Just Think Apr 7, 2013 11:38am Great teachers, paid a decent wage for their significant responsibility in society, is in fact FOR THE KIDS! Teachers are not tanking our economy, teachers are not getting rich. The sociological problem of not valuing teachers can be addressed community by community -- by getting the best possible teachers for kids. Period. BillingsCapitolofNewOldWest Apr 7, 2013 1:11pm Great schools but ten years behind noonepreferred Apr 7, 2013 11:38am Whatever happened to journalism that is unbiased? Why does the Gazette think it is just or fair to put the Sunday Front Page as an advertisement for one point of view. No one is going to Vote against Kids, but what we are going to vote against the scare tactics of the school board, and increased property taxes. MT has love for sprawl, it occurs around all major cities. Homeowners who have already paid for schools are going to get to pay for even more schools, for new developments. When a developer builds a sub-division, the taxes on that subdivision's homeowners should include taxes for a school. Rather than beating homeowners to death with increased taxes we should look at the legislature for a better solution. Billings School Board closed schools (Rimrock, the Alternative High School on Grand so Walgreen's could build) WE have voted to pay for deferred maintenance which never gets done. Why should we trust them now? montananbychoice Apr 7, 2013 8:34pm Seems to me the sub-headline stated "Gazette Opinion." Billings-center-of-Montana-Wyoming Apr 7, 2013 11:41am We are voting yes cme Apr 7, 2013 1:54pm I am voting no. so I guess we cancel each other out. sorry about that. akaks Apr 7, 2013 5:03pm But my husband and I are voting yes...not cancelled anymore. ha! cme Apr 7, 2013 7:32pm but I have 3 more friends voting no. still canceled. native mt Apr 8, 2013 9:15pm My husband, myself, my son & his wife, my mother & sister all no's AnotherMontanaNative Apr 7, 2013 12:07pm Billings is growing, as we all can agree. Why is it that the very people that always beg for higher tax rates never mention the fact that the tax revenues increase automatically as the city grows? As property values increase, the tax bill (based on a percentage of value) will go up right along with it. Also, as new homes and busineses' continue to be built, these properties are immediately added to the tax rolls, resulting in gobs of new revenue every year. Revenue is never static, it is constantly on the rise- as long as there is growth. Higher tax rates stifle growth, just as higher prices will curtail consumption. A tax hike is just that-a hike. lt is not necesarry to hike the rate to increase revenue, growth will handle that on it's own. BillingsCapitolofNewOldWest Apr 7, 2013 1:11pm State needs to start paying its share MontanaGal Apr 7, 2013 12:17pm So why is Rimrock school still sitting empty?? That could ease some of the overcrowding couldn't it? And I don't need to hear about how the building is in need of too much repair to re-open-my daughter went there for kindergarten 5 years ago and the building was functional then. Doingthebestwecan Apr 7, 2013 12:30pm Superintendent Bouck and our SD2 board have done exactly what we have asked of them. I couldn't be more impressed with the work on deciding what our community needs. I am exhausted of the same old complaints. Please, please, please... be part of the solution. Our children are being left in the dust because of decades old concerns. We need to change. I will be voting YES and YES again. BillingsCapitolofNewOldWest Apr 7, 2013 1:09pm Great. We are voting yes MyOpinion Apr 7, 2013 12:37pm PART of the problem with our unmaintained schools is that YOU, yes YOU, the general public, who consistently voted down funding that needed to go to this maintenance in the past two decades. Time for YOU to step up and pay for it! It is part of your RESPONSIBILITY for living in this community. Don't like it? move. But good luck finding somewhere that doesn't demand your involvement.As far as whether the gazette is being biassed or unbiassed in it's news reporting-- It's an OPINION, and the news industry has included an editor's sanctioned opinion since the beginning of the existence of print and broadcast news! I am so sick of listening to the whining and crying of you people about schools needing money, then turning around and whining and crying about how we have crappy schools. Most of you have more money than I do, yet I gladly suck it up and pay my property taxes because I know the value of it. Yes I own my property. Jus Wundrin Apr 7, 2013 1:52pm The $$$ is in the ground all around the state. Im sick and tired of people complaining about lack of school funding then turn around and vote for progressives that favor the environment over their kids. Denise juneau demonstrated this very well by initially voting "nay" for the harvest of the otter creek tracts.....something that FUNDS public schools.Then the foolish re-elected her. Go figure. native mt Apr 7, 2013 5:51pm MyOpinion, It is not the voters problem! SD #2 get 50% of our property taxes!!!! WE do PLENTY! KingRichard Apr 7, 2013 1:06pm We ask all voters to consider how public education has benefited them.***Probably not the best argument to bring up in this case considering our educational rankings in the international community. ;-) SolutionsOnly Apr 7, 2013 1:17pm To all the naysayers!Have you attended or watched on tv (channel 7 or 8) or YouTube any of the school board meetings in recent past?Have you attended the community meetings to learn the facts or ask your questions? Have you attended a parent council meeting? (I'm shocked at the comments by admitted parents who continue to put their kids in BPS classrooms but proclaim to vote no-just slap your kid in the face when you vote) Have you asked your school board for clarification? Have you researched the facts? Are you following SB 175?I am also a parent and my biggest concerns are class size and technology. Guess what? That's the first bite in this huge elephant problem! Until you educate yourselves on the facts and become a part of the solution, shut up! You can complain all day long, which by itself is a waste of time! If you must complain, then in your next breath please identify a solution for each part. Cutting administration and unions has been offered up-tell me how you'll do that. Show me alternative, workable solutions people! Jus Wundrin Apr 7, 2013 1:58pm I have offered solutions, and I dont have any kids in the public school....nor would I put them in there.If your so concerned about your kids, get em out of there and do it yourself.....or would that interfere with your selfish endeavors? The schools need changes, radical ones. native mt Apr 7, 2013 5:48pm Jus Wundrin If I had children now, I would do just that. In fact if I get Grandchildren I am more than willing to do that. montananbychoice Apr 7, 2013 8:33pm I assume you'll be teaching English and grammar. cme Apr 7, 2013 2:07pm how about charging the parents a fee per child. say, $500 per head per yr. above the regular taxs. if you can't aford that, you shouldn't be having kids anyway. those of you who are yelling about your kids deserving better should not mind this at all. and before anybody asks if I did it for my kids, I never had any. so I have been paying for other peoples kids all my life. native mt Apr 7, 2013 5:49pm cme another good idea! AnotherMontanaNative Apr 7, 2013 8:42pm shut up ? really ? Banksy Apr 7, 2013 1:55pm SD2 has told us its "for the kids" before only to find out it is for the adults getting more money. They use scare tactics and bold face lies to trick people into voting yes. The never ending amount of mill levys that we are shamed into voting for has got to stop. Turn the old library into a school or open perfectly good school that is currently closed and stop begging. I would like to know what they are doing with the revenue from all the new houses and businesses. bersuchb Apr 7, 2013 2:09pm All we need is more money, and your kids will be smarter. All we need is a few more bucks, a few more employees, a new cheese slicer, etc. If you don't vote for another tax increase, your kids will suffer. The schools just can't afford to buy more of anything, without another tax increase. Every time there is an election, the schools are standing with their palms wide open. How many more millions does the school district need? I went to publice school, and they never spent this kind of money. Give me a break, you don't need more money. You need to be taught self restraint, and how to better spend the money you have. Sorry, but you will not be getting a vote from me or my family. Kadee Apr 7, 2013 2:14pm I will be voting yes to adding more teachers. But draw the line at adding I-PAD labs to schools. They are mostly exspensive toys. You can not learn to touch type on one and you are not going to learn to ten key on one. I would support more computer labs which are multifunctional. But at this time feel it is a waste of money to put I-pad labs in the schools. So will not vote for this levy. wyder Apr 7, 2013 2:57pm For the sanctamonious Solutions Only people, how about this? Reduce the newcomer Bouck's $165,000 salary plus benefits. Hefty salary for a new person. Use Rimrock School. Use Lincoln Center classrooms. Have the 30+ principals, associate principals, counselors, deans, executive directors of leadership support, director of curriculum, director of early childhood education, etc., and their assistants teach at least part time. There is the equivalent of 20 additional teachers. They can cut out their unnecessary paperwork, chitchatting, and driving to meetings at Lincoln Center, and have time for part-time teaching with a real focus on the kids. The Union would agree so that the teachers could get help. As far as technology, yes, it is needed. If SD2 shows me they are really streamlining, something they have never done, then I will vote yes. Until then, no. Huckleberry Apr 7, 2013 3:33pm Maybe if teachers and administrators in this district took a healthy cut in pay they could afford to hire more teachers and upgrade facilities. Teachers in school district #2 make approximately 10,000 dollars more a year than the surrounding districts. It's public information so do some research. This district was warned when the teacher striked what would happen if the teachers were given more money. The surrounding districts seem to be able to afford to hire new teachers, upgrade their facilities, provide state of the art technology for their students and still have funds to spare. You can visit any schools in the surrounding districts and see that instead of greedy staff they have taken time to look out for the students. I won't be voting yes until the greedy teachers and administrators think more about the students in this district and not about lining their own pocket books. new2btown Apr 7, 2013 6:02pm I got in to public education to get rich.......Said no teacher or administrator.......ever. joe cool Apr 7, 2013 7:22pm Um ive already asked this question but is 30K a year a handsome wage to you? be fair Apr 7, 2013 4:55pm We are voting yes for both levies because they are a very logical way for our community to start addressing funding challenges for our public schools that have been years in the making. We have been watching and attending most of the School Board meetings and from our impression, it is clear to us that the District and the administration are being very responsive to implementing lean operating strategies and really staying focused on what is important for our kids. This is one time when our community can rally together and make a positive difference. There will never be a perfect solution but we must start somewhere. Passing these two levies will make an important and positive impact in every public school across Billings. We are extremely fortunate to live in a progressive community that is moving forward. Thanks to the Billings Gazette for presenting this comprehensive story in such a way that it helps educate everyone about the important needs facing our community. akaks Apr 7, 2013 5:08pm Well stated! remarkable Apr 7, 2013 5:40pm Not an "imaginary city" as the previous poster suggested. Check out some neighboring states, the large (larger than Billings) school district and how the state/municipalities allocate funds and pay for education. Our schools are beautifully maintained, and as stated each child K-12 receives a Chromebook or Ipad to help them next year. We build new schools all the time. Billings, Montana, has never figured out how to do it right, and that's the fault of the stranglehold the education union has back there. Tax dollars are ill spent, and each time Billings unions ask for more taxpayer cash "for the kids" the money gets, evidently, poorly allocated. Billings is a mess, and it's unfortunate. So potentially nice, but so dumb. Lose the unions or take your kids out of the local wasteful schools. We chose that option. joe cool Apr 7, 2013 7:20pm Please explain to me how the unions are taking all the money? Do you consider a teacher making 30K a year a rich person? perknut59102 Apr 7, 2013 7:54pm This issue isn't how the funds are allocated, the issue is where the funds come from! Check those school districts you are referring to and you will see, those schools are NOT only funded by property owners but also from several other city, county, and state budgets. Montana's stubborn and un-enforced state land leases and entire tax structure needs to change. PamEllis Apr 7, 2013 6:46pm AnotherMontanaNative - 5 hours agoWhy is it that the very people that always beg for higher tax rates never mention the fact that the tax revenues increase automatically as the city grows? Schools tax revenues do not increase 1 cent as the city grows. As new property is built, the dollars approved by taxpayers are distributed and property taxes assessed for schools decline. Mine are down.mtcwgrl101 - 6 hours agoWhy have we had to close schools, because we couldn't afford to keep up on them? We closed schools because we had a decline in student enrollment which resulted in a decline of funding. Student populations are now increasing and we do not have space for the new students. It reflects that our community and economy are vibrant. AnotherMontanaNative Apr 7, 2013 8:38pm Let's get this straight . . . when a new structure is built, no matter if it is residential or commercial, it will incur a tax burden like any other real property. Revenue automatically increases- it is not a zero sum equation. Our tax bills do drop because there are more taxpayers in town. That would be similar to saying that the price of lunch drops when the diner fills up . . . there is more money in the till, period. Jus Wundrin Apr 8, 2013 1:45pm Remember, you are discussing this with a retired, pro big union teacher. Old fashioned Billings girl Apr 9, 2013 3:12pm Exactly...and don't forget...somewhat of a possible bully, too! PamEllis Apr 7, 2013 6:47pm noonepreferred - 5 hours agoWhen a developer builds a sub-division, the taxes on that subdivision's homeowners should include taxes for a school. Rather than beating homeowners to death with increased taxes we should look at the legislature for a better solution. Agreed. The legislature specifically does not allow a city to charge developers for new school construction.WE have voted to pay for deferred maintenance which never gets done. The deferred maintenance is paid for by bonds. Since 2010, the community has approved more than $27 million in QZAB and QECB to help us make progress toward the $125 million in deferred. Those dollars can be used only as approved by the voters and the board and public has received regular reports of projects completed. Maintenance has been deferred because we have not approved building reserves or maintenance bonds regularly as other districts have done. Anthony_in_Montana Apr 7, 2013 7:43pm How about some reporting and disclosure?What does SD2 spend per child?How does this compare to the larger cities in the rest of the State?How does that compare to cities of 50,000-150,000 in the rest of the Rocky Mountain and Western Plains States?How do the SD2 dropout rates and test scores compare to districts in cities of 50,000-150,000?What percentage of SD2 grads complete higher education degrees and/or college-level vocational training?What is the average household income of a SD2 grad 10 years after high school compared to districts in comparable cities?What percentage of SD2 grads live below the middle-class socioeconomic level 10 years after graduation, and how does this compare?How does all this data compare with Billings Catholic Schools, Billings Christian School, and the non-religious charter schools in surrounding states? perknut59102 Apr 7, 2013 7:44pm (I hate my keyboard) IF my original post made it:Is the lottery revenue to be going to education funding? Also: Wyoming schools are not funded the same way as Montana and can't be compared in this fashion. 2012 Apr 8, 2013 3:21pm Lottery revenue went to teachers retirement, not for the kids. Anthony_in_Montana Apr 7, 2013 8:14pm @joe coolI know several SD2 teachers who earn over $70k per year, in 9 months a year, and who will retire by age 60 with a lifetime pension of more than $48k per year.To answer your question, no. $30k per year--even for 9 months work a year--is not a significant wage for a college graduate. However, this approximate $30k entry level wage does not include the value of the benefits, and it does not represent the mid or end of career wages and rich benefit package. montananbychoice Apr 7, 2013 8:29pm Actually, it DOES include the value of benefits. My daughter's starting salary this past fall was $23,000. She's one of the top-rated in the district... joe cool Apr 7, 2013 9:01pm I know 2 of the teachers you speek of and they both coach football and teach drivers ed in the summers, they make a comfortable living but they are not the norm and I would not consider them over paid union employees. new2btown Apr 7, 2013 8:53pm So after a 25-30 year career....they've maxed out at 70k? While that may seem like a lot to some.....there are other jobs that could be MUCH more lucrative after that amount of time. Making it that long teaching 20-30 kids every day, every year......70k seems reasonable to me. What are the requirements to become a teacher? College educated....many go for their masters degrees if not multiple ones. How much does college cost theses days? Anthony_in_Montana Apr 7, 2013 9:21pm @joe cool et alI don't think $70k with a $1 million valued pension is too much for some teachers.My son will graduate in a few years with a BS in Computer Science, and the average starting salary of the senior class last year was over $60k. I'm sure that by the time he is 30, he will earn over $100k. I'm sure his retirement plan--if he properly funds it--will be more than $1 million by retirement. He'd take a huge paycut and have to add a 5th year of college to be a k-12 teacher in a public school. However, if he had an affinity for teaching, he might consider working at a charter school.I do believe that steps and lanes should be replaced with performance and market competitive-based wages. This is needed to attract the very brightest STEM (science, math, engineering, and technology) teachers. Storm Apr 8, 2013 12:51am Wyder said it best, so I will repeat............. how about this? Reduce the newcomer Bouck's $165,000 salary plus benefits. Hefty salary for a new person. Use Rimrock School. Use Lincoln Center classrooms. Have the 30+ principals, associate principals, counselors, deans, executive directors of leadership support, director of curriculum, director of early childhood education, etc., and their assistants teach at least part time. There is the equivalent of 20 additional teachers. They can cut out their unnecessary paperwork, chitchatting, and driving to meetings at Lincoln Center, and have time for part-time teaching with a real focus on the kids. .......... Until then, no. Old fashioned Billings girl Apr 8, 2013 7:05am Boom! Love it!Also, teachers or administrators children don't have to be perfect...but stop breaking the law with drinking and drugging...facts and opinions...and seriously other professions may be on face book while at work...but are their employers are not trying to pass levees. Do your job...I've been working for forty three years and I work...not play on the computer... joe cool Apr 8, 2013 6:43pm Pay your taxes and vote democrat baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Nosalestax Apr 8, 2013 8:18pm Don't forget renters, you raise property taxes on the place you rent, don't cry when your rent goes up. facts and opinions Apr 8, 2013 9:52pm My mom, stepdad, dad, stepmom, brother, sister in law, grandma, grandpa, mother in law, father in law, grandmother in law, 4 uncles, 3 aunts, 4 cousins and 3 spouses, husband and myself all vote YES. AnotherMontanaNative Apr 8, 2013 10:16pm To the moderator - would it be possible for the gazette to provide a link to the sd2 web page that details teachers salaries? lt is public record and completely within the taxpayers rights to know exactly where our money goes. l've seen the pdf before and it was very enlightening. Can anyone help with this? Thank you Anthony_in_Montana Apr 9, 2013 7:51am Here is the 2011 info:http://billingsgazette.com/news/local/education/salary-information-posted-on-sd-website-stirs-talk/article_c4fc3bcf-84d4-5b94-b9ff-22e2ed14e2a0.html14 years, a masters degree with extra credits from an approved institution, and a National Certificate or Doctorate resulted in a 2011 salary in excess of $70,000--not including extracurricular activities like coaching or drivers education. Without the National Certificate or Doctorate, the top of steps and lanes was just under $69,500--not including extra activities.Starting salary in 2011 was $35,391--contrary to the post here that claimed less than $30,000 for her daughter.I don't believe that those salary levels by themselves are unreasonable. However, they should be based on performance and comparable private industry wages by discipline. A masters in science, math, engineering, or technology, with the strongest performance ratings would get the $70,000--regardless of experience. Someone with poorer performance that teaches art, not so much. steve-o48 Apr 9, 2013 11:35am Vote no, invest that money in private school tuition, and you will not have nearly the value of your childs public education. So we vote yes, and if we really care about our taxes, we monitor the results to apply to the next levy request. My taxes are up from $1336 a year to a little over $1800. My last school-aged son graduates this year. I'm still voting yes. Welcome to the discussion. Log In Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language. PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK. Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything. Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person. Be Proactive. 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