A Mom’s Letter

Editor’s note: Since last Wednesday we have received several letters and other communications from local citizens expressing their disappointment over GFPS Superintendent Tammy Lacey’s comments after the voters voted against the districts requested $1.35M operational levy.

We’re publishing this letter because we feel it is well written and accurately represents the majority of comments, letters and other communications we have received. We are respecting the writers request for anonymity, not something we have made or will make a habit of, because the reasoning is sound and justified in this case, which we have verified.

I have a response to Tammy Lacey’s response to the vote, but wish to remain anonymous due to the heated environment that this vote has created. If you feel that you could use a viewpoint response to E-City Beat. Please let me know, and I would be happy to send it to you.

Thank you.

Superintendent Tammy Lacey, Great Falls Public School Board, Teachers, Administrators and Citizens of Great Falls:

I was astounded by the comments that Superintendent Tammy Lacey made regarding the recent tax levy. I am a property owner in Great Falls, and I have no qualms about saying that I voted ‘no’ on the recent school levy. Yes, I have a child going to school within the district, in the past I had voted ‘yes’ to the previous school levies.

I think that Tammy Lacey fails to really see what is going on in the personal lives and financial means of the bulk of citizens within the district. Every day we must make choices that affect our bank accounts. We have bills to pay and there have been recent property tax increases that were also affected by the increase in property values; in addition to the rise in costs for utilities and basic necessities. Add all this up to the fact that many of us are working good, full time jobs, but ones in which there have been no pay increases.

Right now, I feel blessed to have a good job that is full time, even if I am paying for the bulk of the benefits that are available. Yes, getting people to vote to tax themselves is hard especially when those people do not see raises, cost of living increases, and who must pay the brunt of any increase to their health insurance plans from their own pockets. I feel for the elderly in our community who also must choose between basic needs in order to live their lives such as groceries and medication or to fund the gap in the district’s finances.

I also want to point out that my vote would not have changed had I used a mail-in ballot, walked myself to the voting booth, or had to stand up and express my vote in public. You try to shame us regarding our vote, but it is our vote and our civic and democratic right. Please do not think that we take this lightly.

You should be ashamed of yourself as a voice for our teachers who instruct our children to think critically and for themselves that you would lump all ‘no’ voters into a category of those who “confused…their dislike of government” as a reason for voting against another school levy. Tammy Lacey, you do not know me nor my family, you do not know our struggles, and it is clear that you do not understand the struggles of the community that you plead for funds from.

“You should be ashamed of yourself as a voice for our teachers who instruct our children to think critically and for themselves that you would lump all ‘no’ voters into a category of those who “confused…their dislike of government” as a reason for voting against another school levy. Tammy Lacey, you do not know me nor my family, you do not know our struggles, and it is clear that you do not understand the struggles of the community that you plead for funds from.”

Not only do I work full time, I also go to school full time. I want to one day be able to look at my family’s finances and feel confident that voting yes and raising my property tax will not negatively affect our other needs and obligations as well as our want to support local businesses and charities. Maybe, instead of looking at the failed levy as an “us” against “them” scenario, you should look at it as many in the community also do: we are having to tighten our belts as individuals and as a community we are asking the school and other institutions to do the same thing.

I want to point out that many of the communities that recently saw the successful passing of levies also have seen the benefits of a surge in business and increased populations. While Great Falls has been stagnant in terms of population growth and have seen several business close or will be closing very soon, leading to some in our community to look for employment elsewhere and/or “cut the fat” from their expenses. You may say, but if we have vibrant schools and successful administrators it will encourage this type of growth. We were promised this with past levies and bonds, and yet have seen more businesses closing and dormant economic growth.

You chastise us like children Mrs. Lacey, but you fail to understand that we are adults that must make financial decisions based on income and expenses. We do not take joy in having to vote ‘no’, so now I will chastise you in failing to understand and empathize with the citizens of the district that you serve. A drop in the bucket for some may be a down pour for others.

This vote has made monsters out of all of us, including myself; I am disappointed that so many cannot see both sides of the coin and respectfully agree to disagree. I am also disappointed because I know there are ways to decrease budgets that do not affect our students or place in jeopardy the jobs of our teachers. The School District’s ‘Plan B’ feels more like a ‘we’ll show you all what happens when you don’t side with us’ scenario.

Because of the viciousness of this vote, I ask that I remain anonymous, not for myself, but because I fear that my ideals will be used against my child, who is a student in the Great Falls Public School District.

Reader interactions

17 Replies to “A Mom’s Letter”

  1. Very well said. I couldn’t agree more.

    Thank you for saying it for me.


  2. Representative of many of local citizens’ financial status, well stated and nicely written. It’s unfortunate she lives in an environment where she must remain anonymous in order to frankly speak her mind.


    1. Daniel M. Armstrong May 15, 2018 at 8:12 PM



  3. Mike Mikulski May 15, 2018 at 6:33 PM

    So much for “free speech” that the writer must fear that her child will face some sort of retribution. A sad day indeed.


  4. Well written young lady. These people that are making 150000.00 a year with free health care, have lost sight of the day to day struggles that most of us have every day. We have to tighten our belts. The school system must too. You need to look at our city and county for not doing everything possible to entice businesses to come here and share the tax burden. With declining population and loss of business in town it’s just to easy to hit up the property owners for more and more. Enough is enough.


  5. It couldn’t have been said any planer than ‘anonymous” in her letter to Tammy Lacey. And for that I compliment her. The school board and Lacey need to read and re-read this letter to find out how tough it is out in the real world in GF. maybe its time for Lacey and the school board to resign and the school district to get some fresh blood in the administration leadership roles that understand what it means to live within the school districts current budget….


  6. Daniel M. Armstrong May 15, 2018 at 8:22 PM

    Well written. I have commented, on other pages, that the schools can get a raise, when I get a raise. My income has pretty much flat-lined these past several years, yet the cost of everything has gone up.
    And how sad is it that the writer had to request to be anonymous. But that is the world we seem to live in. In the past, if you disagree with the establishment, you use to be a “dissenter”, or the “respected opposition”. Now? You are “the enemy” who must be punished and crushed.


  7. Perfect understanding of Lacey: “we’ll show you…”


  8. Robbie Regennitter May 15, 2018 at 8:38 PM

    I wish I could have written a letter as well as this one. I would proudly sign my name. I also understand why she did not. Thank you for putting into words what I was thinking.


  9. Outstanding letter. The school board of trustees should be embarrassed and ashamed of their appointed superintendent’s comment to the public who pay her wages.

    GFPS needs to cut the fat at the top, rather than the bottom. It’s a very simple business strategy or rather management 101. The Board of Trustees needs to do their job and govern this school district so all the stakeholders benefit.


  10. She, although who will remain unanimous is speaking for the even greater silent majority. I was tickled to read that so many finally spoke up, but there is a large segment that even though they voted NO, remains silent otherwise. The voters spoke loudly, however further silence now that the voting on the school levy is over, will continue the impression of silence is approval. It is time to take back our rights and our schools. If she remains unanimous because of fear of a lashing we are definitively not talking about “safe schools” now are we. Keeping this discussion open for further debate is key to making sure the people get their message out continually to prevent further mismanagement or cuts that hit the class rooms directly. It is time for fiscal responsibility, yes, cuts, its called living within a budget, consolidation, and getting a real business person in there to overhaul the whole kid and caboodle, after all the schools are a business and should be providing a service at a reasonable cost, and no matter how we look at it, it is a business in trouble and off the rails.


  11. I am not an “anti-education” person by any means. I have numerous educators in my family so I understand the problems the schools are facing. I have a bachelors degree myself, but my wage is currently $12 and I have to pay $100 per month for basically catastrophic event insurance with a $3500 deductible. Like everyone else, my property taxes and utilities have gone up and I have one income. It was a very difficult decision to say no, put I have to keep my finances in mind.
    I too felt disgusted with the “we will show you” attitude of the educators and Lacey. That’s the last thing I need to hear when I’m struggling from paycheck to paycheck in this time of uncertainty where our nation is headed!
    If other states pay their educators more, then please feel free to take advantage by moving there. I’ll help you pack.


  12. Amen. Someone who could finally express what so many of us are feeling. It’s disgraceful how Lacey and certain educators have expressed their disappointment in the failure to pass yet another Levy.


  13. Bully free starts with us. Unless you vote against us.


  14. Sharyn Wallace May 16, 2018 at 11:10 PM

    This represents the opinion of so many that have expressed these very sentiments. The schools as well as governments, need to be run like a business. Thank you


  15. […] To quote from an anonymous mom whose letter appeared here yesterday, “A Mom’s Letter”: […]


  16. […] but has in the past done so when warranted, as in the case from May of this year when we published a powerful piece by an anonymous mother concerning child safety issues. Following are excerpts from a confirmed and very reliable source who fears retribution if […]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *