The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly From GFPS


It is fair to say a large number of property taxpayers are opposed to voting for yet another school district levy.

Based on recent school district levies, both those which passed, and those which have failed, it is also fair to say taxpayers have gotten the good, the bad and the ugly for their hard-earned tax dollars.

The Good are the teachers in the district who use their education, skills and creativity to go beyond their perfunctory duties and encourage students to contemplate, debate, and communicate ideas.

The Bad are the over-the-top administration salaries.

These salaries have increased twice since the list shown above from 2017. Each time the teachers get a 2% raise, so do the administrators.

And because administrator’s retirement benefits are calculated on their three highest paid years. According to the chairman of the school board, the last superintendent is collecting $80K a year in retirement benefits.

How about reducing the administration salaries to pay teachers more? A 20% reduction would be very close to the $1M needed for teacher raises.

The Ugly.

Horrible graduation rates; 80% as reported by the office of public instruction. That means 20 students out of every 100 do not graduate, albeit, on time.

Add to that the ugly addition to GFH and the destruction of a historic campus, the purchase of a property for a small parking lot without the required vote of the public because the property is not contiguous to the existing campus, and the deforestation of approximately 70 eighty-year old campus trees without permission from the City.


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


  1. There has been more violence in the way of bullying and fighting in the halls of GFH now that all the administration is in the new Hub they claimed would be so much safer for kids because there is less presence in the actual halls. The transgender bathroom is nothing but a place for kids to hide and vape or smoke weed. Staff have not been educated as what us and isn’t okay in the way of transgender so they take a hands off approach which some students take advantage of. I can only speak of what I hear and see at GFH. I don’t know anything about CMR or the GGPS system as a whole. It is my assumption however that the GGPS system is only benefitting the few just as the city as a whole does. Soon my children will be out of school and I can leave this city.

  2. I’m curious as to why you think these salaries are over the top. I did a quick search on, and the national average for a public school principal is $106000. The average for Montana is $96000. The salaries seem to be pretty well aligned with the state and National averages. Especially with the trouble we have recruiting people to Great Falls in general. Do you think the issues with Great Falls Public Schools will be corrected by paying principals and other school administrators less than the state average?

  3. No Bill, Reducing administrative salaries is not the be-all, end-all cure to resolve GFPS District maladies, and it certainly isn’t a good long-term strategy, but until the district is willing to explore a new and realistic financial model that accepts the fact that the property tax well is dry, it may become a catalyst for the development of real solutions.

  4. “…a new and realistic financial model that accepts the fact that the property tax well is dry,…”. What is the new and realistic financial model that doesn’t rely on property tax ? Is there a school district that is working with this model?


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