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Building reserve question faces school voters

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Posted: Sunday, March 20, 2011 2:00 am

Taxpayers have until Tuesday to decide whether to support a $6 million building reserve and technology levy from Kalispell Public Schools.

The school district is requesting the levy to pay for repairs and upgrades to properties in its high school district.

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          Welcome to the discussion.


          • photoguy posted at 4:25 pm on Tue, Mar 22, 2011.

            photoguy Posts: 940

            I voted NO today and I will vote NO in 5 years unless something changes!

          • Avatarrbl posted at 11:43 am on Tue, Mar 22, 2011.

            Avatarrbl Posts: 13

            Mooseberryinn, I am sorry but you are wrong. The building reserve levy is a five year levy that will need to be voted on again at the end of the five your term, you are thinking of a General fund levy. please do some research

          • mooseberryinn posted at 6:12 am on Tue, Mar 22, 2011.

            mooseberryinn Posts: 2693

            Please remember...once a tax, levy, fee, etc. goes into effect, it never, ever goes away. it becomes part of the "budget". The unholy, not-to-be-denied, carved in stone, BUDGET. Forever more, the now larger 'budget" must be fed, worshipped, offered sacrifices etc. etc. Question - have anyone ever heard of schools, unions, states, feds, voting to reduce a "budget"?????

          • tkaad posted at 1:27 am on Tue, Mar 22, 2011.

            tkaad Posts: 8

            Fire Chief Dan Diehl conducted an in-depth inspection of the high school in November. Officials had long known the school needed fire safety upgrades, but under the old fire code, those upgrades would have cost millions of dollars.
            If he used the 2009 International Fire Code then there must have been either alterations or remodels because that is usually the only time that you walk In with a new code and start making changes. The codes are produced and updated every three years. So if you plan on updating every code cycle you might as well break out the checkbooks because it will get expensive. The codes are designed so that once a building is constructed it is to be maintained at that level of effectiveness through all of its systems. It is only when they alter the buildings or system’s in them that it will be needed to look at a new code for updates. I would be really curious to see what he found and what sections of the codes he is using to justify the push for updated systems. If there were any alterations or remodels it should be looked at first using the International Building code along with the companion codes. The IBC is the design document and the IFC is the maintenance document, you cannot use IFC to dictate changes to the IBC it is the other way around. The idea of spending almost a million dollars on a fire system without looking at all avenues is illogical. The building was designed and built utilizing the most current codes at that time and they are to be maintained at that level. If they were not then that would be poor maintenance, therefore poor oversight of management and poor use of tax dollars. If this is not the case then it would appear to be a very active Fire chief working in a vacuum and trying to create the perfect scenario. I am not against protecting the population, but I would be curious to see if this is a required code mandate or a pet peeve as these are two very distinctive issues.
            (Please tell me where I can find a copy of his report).

          • photoguy posted at 5:22 pm on Mon, Mar 21, 2011.

            photoguy Posts: 940

            We the tax payers, DID not let our schools fall into disrepair, those we have entrusted to manage OUR money properly did.. I refuse to throw good money after bad, until such time as they show they are able to manage our money and our schools, I refuse to give them one more dime..

            When we vote yes on a levy, it is with expectation that our money will be managed properly, in the last 15 years in this valley, the administration has shown, they do not have a handle on money management, they are not willing to make the hard choices, they need to be replaced and yes, I have attended board meetings, I am considering running for a board position, so don't even go there with me. We are throwing money down the black hole, until such time as we get these people in charge, back inline. They need to make the hard choices, they need to make the choices that allow the students to get an education.

            People, your kids are suffering at the hands of these people, vote no and keep voting no, until they get back inline and do the right thing.. I am not the only one tired of paying for their mistakes and mis-management!

            I will vote no and continue to vote no and talk to everybody I am affiliated with to explain my reasons for voting no..

          • retiree posted at 5:19 pm on Mon, Mar 21, 2011.

            retiree Posts: 63

            I am afraid I did not make a valid argument for voting down this levy. Over the last 30 years that I know of for sure, the building levies have gone into the roofing at Flathead High School year after year and it is still a draft center. The buildings have been repaired and repaired and we have sunk good money after bad for years. All in all the levies pass because they only add $20.00 to $50.00 to the average homeowner tax per year. Well, over the years, my house tax has gone up over 400% because once they tack on a levy, they never get rid of it. Last year was a 30 year exception. I mentioned the budget and salaries, because they are exorbitant for this area and need to be addressed, maybe in another session, but this spending has to stop somewhere and everybody should be aware of all the overpaid administrators in the district because they are the ones pushing the levies. And yes it does affect the building reserve because years ago, the building reserve was used to supplement the first payment to salaries before the FTE from the state came in which never came in before the first payroll at the start of the school session. Our superintendent brought in salaries to this levy when she stated that teachers and staff will suffer if the levy doesn’t pass because they will have to let a lot of them go. Whether it is for this levy or for the levy we will be voting on in June, the spending has to stop. If we don’t have it, we don’t have it… If you are thinking this will benefit the students and their learning capacity, give me a break. I know a lot of super intelligent people who never had a posh high school and many of the amenities the schools sport now.

          • Avatarrbl posted at 4:18 pm on Mon, Mar 21, 2011.

            Avatarrbl Posts: 13

            First my aplogies to Jeancalvinus, James and Russ25 for my last comment which was my first post here. Jeancalvinus you were right it was wrong of me to single posters out that in itself will kill a thoughtful debate, I am sorry. I actually agree with Jeancalvinus on many points but obviously not all.
            Retiree, as I agree with many of the comments you have made I would like to point out again that this levy does not impact salaries, it is strictly for building and Facility upkeep. I feel letting our facilities
            fall into dis-repair is just not a good idea.
            This is not the right levy to vote no on if you are looking to change salaries.

          • JMO posted at 4:14 pm on Mon, Mar 21, 2011.

            JMO Posts: 133

            One of the things the schools keep failing to mention - is how much of our property taxes already go to the schools. And these are from various levies. To give the reasoning - it's only another $40 a year is ludicris.

          • retiree posted at 3:42 pm on Mon, Mar 21, 2011.

            retiree Posts: 63

            This is all about statistics... or for your information. The school district 5 budget, policy, infrastructure and all pertinent information is open to the public and if you know where to find it, it is very interesting. SO in making all the reductions that are really hurting the district and totally freaking out that the budget levy might fail, you the voter should go to www.school district 5 and check out the budget. You will find that our superintendent of schools makes a whopping salary of $118,497.00 plus a $5,000.00 travel budget, plus a car, plus insurance, plus a retirement account (401K) and many other things that aren't reported on the budget. The assistant superintedent makes $97,000.00 and all the gratuities as well. Now stop and think, where do you think we should cut budget amounts?????

          • russ25 posted at 10:41 am on Mon, Mar 21, 2011.

            russ25 Posts: 195

            Yes , all of them are pretty dang good ! Well said .

          • libra42 posted at 1:36 am on Mon, Mar 21, 2011.

            libra42 Posts: 461

            jeancalvinus .... That was pretty dang good.

          • jeancalvinus posted at 9:39 pm on Sun, Mar 20, 2011.

            jeancalvinus Posts: 327


            Of course our levy is local, but the issue of school funding is certainly a national one. If you check local news at random throughout the country over the last 2 years, one recurrent theme IS levies. There is a decline in what schools are getting from state governments due to the downturn. Also, the federal stimulus bill sent local districts a lot of money which they used to fund current budget levels, thus putting off a "day of reckoning", should there be a decrease (or a lack of an increase) in current funding levels. Well, that day is here (maybe, I still say the levy may pass).

            We still do not know what level of funding Helena is going to settle on. They have already told the college system to expect a 10% decrease in funding, as to what the public schools are supposed to expect, I haven't heard anything other than to expect a decrease. No clue where the final figures will fall.

            I AM involved, in tutoring, and officiating. As to writing, I do so on this forum. I think my overall argument is sound, although I do get sidetracked from time to time. This article is a prime example, I allowed myself to engage in an argument over whether or not the schools are doing a good job. To a large degree, that is immaterial. Whether they are doing great or lousy, they can still expect far less money coming in as this depression continues. As a result, they need to act accordingly.

            My overall argument is that this is a time of economic contraction, and the schools need to tighten their belt. their spending levels (just read the budget) reflect a disconnect with our economic reality. Plus, they have not done well with what they have received to date. They will not cut anything until there is a gun to their head, while responsible governance would dictate a more proactive, anticipatory approach. I think they lack the political will to make cuts, which may be why so many are jumping ship. If the levy doesn't pass, the cuts they make for next year will be a mere foretaste of what is to come.

            As to the school board, only people who disagree with me ever suggest I run for the board (as if that has any bearing on the validity of my arguments). Which of course highlights the fact that logic still isn't being taught (this forum is a prime example, there are more logical fallacies here than Carter has Liver pills and Heinz has Ketchup).

          • lester posted at 5:49 pm on Sun, Mar 20, 2011.

            lester Posts: 34


            The levy is a local issue, not national. You are certainly entitled to your opinon but you seem to be skirting the facts to make your argument. I would give your opinions much more credibility if you actually got involved. Attend a board meeting, run for the board, write a letter to the editor, give input to the administration because you obviously have knowledge that others are lacking.

          • Partyer posted at 5:01 pm on Sun, Mar 20, 2011.

            Partyer Posts: 685

            I'm still in awe at how many kids I saw get a 4.0 GPA award at GHS recently. My daughter got her first, others I know got a fourth and a seventh!
            I don't think there is an issue about the quality of education here. Just how to fund it. I want any financial shortcomings to be covered by robbing the activities funds, then ask us to vote for a tax hike to restore the sports programs. That will get a resounding NO, you can bet your life, and THEN we can sit down and figure out how to pay for what we need the LEAST.
            I'm voting NO next week. My family is living on a lot less lately, also.

          • jeancalvinus posted at 2:33 pm on Sun, Mar 20, 2011.

            jeancalvinus Posts: 327

            Congrats on the track record of your two children, flyfish. I am happy for you. Seriously.

            The data on the steadily downward performance of our public schools is widely distributed, and is only disputed by the educational establishment. I have heard about it (and read about it) since I could read. It is not a local issue, it is a national one.

            The great job your 2 kids have done does NOT make a case FOR an excellent outcome for the average student.

          • flyfish posted at 1:44 pm on Sun, Mar 20, 2011.

            flyfish Posts: 203

            Where do you get your information, its not very reliable. My daughters test scores are in the mid 90 percentile on her SAT scores in writing and comprehension. This is in a large part attributed to the education she recieved from her teachers in district 5. My son is an honor roll student who also scores very high on his national CRT tests.None of your arguments are backed up by fact, only producing your unsubstantiated rants. The fact is our schools do a good job, it is proven every year by our graduates. The number of high functioning kids our schools put out is a testament to this. Put the blame on the parents and kids themselves if they do not graduate. The schools can only do so much and when you have broken homes, drug and alcohol use ect. these kids are at risk before they ever enter a school. I do not know why you are putting all of your anger towards our local schools, but it is unwarranted and misdirected.

          • 888111 posted at 1:32 pm on Sun, Mar 20, 2011.

            888111 Posts: 541

            just vote no,how many millions have the schools gotten in the last 15 years over 100 million to build new,remodel,and add ons,we're in a major recession,mabe the gov workers don't think so, no more and "its just a cost of a latte,"a day, some of us can't afford that, get real! hope it fails

          • jeancalvinus posted at 12:51 pm on Sun, Mar 20, 2011.

            jeancalvinus Posts: 327

            No flyfish, turning down the levy does NOT deny needed repairs. It just says pay for it out of the general fund.

            And griz, I don't do lattes, as I have already CUT MY BUDGET over 50%. They can afford to cut theirs. And if you say that turning this levy down means "yet another generation not given the education it deserves", then what have you been giving all the preceding generations? If they have all been denied, then WHY GIVE THE SCHOOL DISTRICT MORE MONEY?

            Fact is, they have done a CRAP job while on the gravy train, lets see if tightening the belt makes a difference.

          • griz99 posted at 11:31 am on Sun, Mar 20, 2011.

            griz99 Posts: 13

            If we can't afford the extra $28.80 (just over $2 per month, half the price of your standard latte), can we afford yet another generation not given the education they deserve?

          • Flyitmt posted at 11:01 am on Sun, Mar 20, 2011.

            Flyitmt Posts: 30

            We can't afford more taxes, vote no on this. I will.

          • flyfish posted at 10:59 am on Sun, Mar 20, 2011.

            flyfish Posts: 203

            If this fails the shortfall will be at least $900,000 for the high school district only which is about $17,000,000 total. The district has not run a high school operarational levy since 2007 so where is this never ending request mentality. As I have stated before this is not a new levy request just one that has to be reapproved every 5 years. After this failed in 2009 your propery taxes actually dropped about $34 if your homes taxable value is $100,000.
            Don't let the selfish shortsighted posters on here deny needed school repairs.. None of this money will go to wages or benefits only to building improvements that need to be done. If this fails the nearly half million dollars will come out of the classrooms. This means fewer teachers in both Flathead and Glacier. What this will mean is much larger classes at the highschools, so if you are a Glacier parent and this fails it will directly affect your kids.

          • jeancalvinus posted at 8:32 am on Sun, Mar 20, 2011.

            jeancalvinus Posts: 327

            I encourage all to go to the district 5 website and look at next years budget. It is there in explicit detail.

            The total budget (proposed) is $33,000,000. If they have a $900,000.00 shortfall, that would mean they have to trim the budget by 2.7%. Household after household in this valley had had to trim their budget by double digits (many upwards of 50%). The city of Kalispell has had to drastically trim their budget. I think the school district can do the same.

            2.7% people. Vote NO on the levy, and let's wean the school district from this never ending levy request mentality.


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