While I was reading my Great Falls Tribune early Tuesday morning, out fell a couple pieces of propaganda from the Pro and Con forces regarding the upcoming vote on the Great Falls Public Schools levy. The election is June 25. The ballots were mailed this week, and I received mine Tuesday afternoon.
Basically, to me, it all boils down to this: Do you support public education or not? It really is that simple.
Let’s take a closer look at the flyers and the views from the pro and con forces!
What I took from the anti-levy group’s glossy flyer was that if you are highly-educated and make a decent salary from your public schools occupation, you can get your name plastered on a flyer from people who look down upon you for being successful. To the folks who had their names listed in the flyer, congratulations for being successful in life.
The anti-levy folks also throw in some conspiracy ideas and other items that have no reason to be tied to a school levy vote. Their flyer contained way too much information and probably found a trash can quickly in most households. It reminded me of something I would receive from a dark money group. The cost of creating the flyer, printing it, and distributing it was probably more than it would cost the anti-levy folks to actually support the levy.
Wonderful – and here I thought Tea Parties were for little girls and their imaginary friends…
The pro-levy folks had a pretty informative flyer that was easily readable and contained enough information that readers did not feel they needed to take a seat and grab a cup of coffee before reading it. The website listed on the flyer contained about all the information and answered many of the questions I had, such as how does Great Falls compare to other AA school districts in Montana on spending per student? The answer is “Great Falls spends the lowest per student of all AA districts,” plus Great Falls “students are challenged by poverty more than other AA districts” which I did not know.
According to the levy supporters it will cost you about a dollar and a penny per month on a home with taxable value of $100,000. Their website dispels many of the arguments from the anti-levy folks, so if you have any questions, go HERE.The pro-levy folks are facing an uphill climb. According to their website, “In the last 7 years, a levy has been requested 4 times. Of those 4 times, the levy passed twice.” That means the pro-levy folks need to be out and about making sure people know the facts.
Four School Resource Officers (Police Officers) from the Great Falls Police Department wrote a letter to editor of the Great Falls Tribune that, in part, says, “Since 2010, we’ve had 37 school shootings in the U.S., 13 of which have occurred since January 2013. Too many people have the opinion that it will never happen here, but it has happened in our community as recently as 2006. A large portion of the proposed mill levy is to keep the School Resource Officer program — critical to the safety of our children — going strong in our community.”
Amen to that. A big thanks goes to the School Resource Officers for protecting our children.
The Citizens Against Higher Taxes (the Tea Party) paid for an advertisement in the Great Falls Tribune that says, “GFPS has 39 million in reserves Vote ‘NO’ on the Levy.” They also asked for donations. They probably paid more for that ad than they will in next 10 years if the Levy is approved.
In regard to the “39 million in reserves,” that information is explained in detail and can found on the “Frequently Asked Questions” section of the Pro Levy website. In short, the reserve fund has been used and the levy request is smaller because it was used. Plus, the District has cut 50 Teachers in the last 5 years as well as other positions.
I think it’s probably the best $1.01 a month we can spend. I’ll be voting YES on the Great Falls School Levy.
I’m on Twitter @TheWesternWord