Enough Is Enough Already

According to USA Today, February 26, 2018, the cost of raising a child from birth to age 17 is $233,610. You can see the breakdown in the header image for this article.

What does that have to do with the Great Falls School District’s operational levy that will be decided next week? Well, it means that when you take money from families raising children, they have less to spend on the costs of raising their children. Seventeen years equals 204 months, which equates to $1,145 per month to raise a child. Every dollar counts.


If you combine the increase in property tax resulting from the 2016 $98M school bond levy and the currently proposed $1.348M school operational levy for each $300K property, residential or commercial, in the Great Falls School District, it results in an annual increase of approximately $235.62, or about $20 per month. $20 per month invested monthly at about 3.5% would yield close to $4,000 over 17 years, or enough to pay tuition for one semester at Montana State University in Bozeman.

Combined with all the previous levy taxes that go on forever, it could mean that parents may not be able to send a child to summer camp, music camp, history field trips, and enjoy other educational opportunities with their children.

Every year, almost without exception, the Great Falls Public School District comes up short to the tune of about $1.5, give or take.


Well, this year it’s for a shortfall in the operating budget, thus it’s an Operational Levy. This levy is needed to pay for increased health insurance premiums, and raises for District employees, and is not directly “for the kids”.

It is worth noting that besides 807 teachers, the District employs 50 administrators. Of that number of administrators, 1 earns more than $150,000, 10 earn more than $100,000, and 20 earn more than $90,000.

“It is worth noting that besides 807 teachers, the District employs 50 administrators. Of that number of administrators, 1 earns more than $150,000, 10 earn more than $100,000, and 20 earn more than $90,000.”

Do we really need that number of administrators and do they need to be paid those salaries?

According to CNSNews.com – “The ranks of non-teachers – such as administrators, counselors, teacher aides and cafeteria workers – has swelled 130 percent since 1970 and they now make up 50 percent of all public school employees according to a new study, The Hidden Half: School Employees Who Don’t Teach.”

Looking at data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the Thomas B. Fordham Institute found that the growth of non-teaching staff has greatly outpaced student growth over the past four decades.

From 1970 to 2010, the number of students grew by 8.6 percent, while the number of non-teaching personnel increased by 130 percent. Non-teachers now consume over a quarter of all education expenditures, the study found.

In addition, America now spends a greater percentage of its education funding on non-teachers than any other country in the world besides Denmark. A previous study from the Friedman Foundation, The School Staffing Surge, found that “states could have saved more than $24 billion annually if they had increased/decreased the employment of administrators and other non-teaching staff at the same rate as students between 1992 and 2009.”

Finally, it is very important to exercise your right to vote on May 8th, as it is in all elections!

Posted by Philip M. Faccenda

Philip M. Faccenda is an AIA award-winning architect and planner. He is the Editor-in-Chief of E-City Beat.

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