Missoula County Public Schools Trustees have approved two levies, both in the elementary school and high school district, to appear on the May 7, 2018 ballot. Superintendent Mark Thane says they requested these levies because Missoula’s enrollment increased by another 130 students this year.

“We have 23 classrooms in our kindergarten through 5th grade district that exceeds state accreditation standards for class size,” Thane said. “Right now, 91% of our budget goes to salary and benefits, which is how it should be. We are a service-related industry. We should be putting adults in front of the children in order to accomplish our mission, but we don’t have the capacity right now in our budget to even begin considering hiring all the teachers that we need.”

When you receive your ballot, Thane says it tells you what they are requesting and what the impact is on a $200,000 assessed property. If you live in both districts and are subject to both of those, the total impact is $6.20 per year on a $200,000 assessed property.

“It is challenging to understand that the impact on your tax bill will actually be significantly less,” Thane said. “We have some things that are coming off the tax rolls and we also had some funding that was reduced by the 2017 legislature that is being restored. The actual affect of passing both of these levies would be an annual increase of $2.20.”

Thane expressed that he is sensitive to the tax burden, but said they tried to be reasonable and are trying to keep the impact to a minimum. Thane mentioned that we are fortunate to be in a growth phase and he believes having a good vibrant school system supports that.