Educational Funding and School Board Elections
April 17, 2019
Per the statement sent to the Mountaineer from the Big Sandy School Board. “As an essential part of its budgeting process, the Big Sandy Board of Trustees is authorized by law to impose levies to support its budget. The Big Sandy Board of Trustees estimates the following increases/decreases in revenues and mills for the funds noted below for the next fiscal school year beginning July 1, 2019, using certified taxable valuations from the current fiscal school year as provided to the district:”
The law requires if there is a possibility of a resolution with intent to impose an increase in levies that it needs to be published weeks before the ballot is sent to the homes. The board is still waiting on the state of Montana and Chouteau County. Kelly Haaland Big Sandy Superintendent said, “Just last month they, (the School Board) started looking at their preliminary data sheet for the budget. We have to wait for the county to give us our guarantee tax base.” The books close in July, four months away.
However, it appears they may need to ask for an increase in transportation. Classified contractors have requested an increase for fuel, salaries, and insurance. “Our classified contractors are asking cost of living increases.”
Teachers are certified contractors and they negotiated their contracts last year. Haaland is “Waiting and watching closely to see how the legislation will come down.”
“The Board is very cost effective,” according to Kelly. The board does all negotiations. He and Maryetta Engle give them the financial numbers and they make decisions on finances. They do look closely at the expenses each month. They have a number of activities accounts and, “Currently we are stable, but need to look forward to what is coming here, and have the ability to stay stable.”
The school itself realizes they may need more money in the budget for technology. They need to try to get the computers up to speed. Currently the technology cannot keep up with modern requirements.
Also, they have floor, cement, and tile issues to fix as well. “We need to keep up with maintenance concerns.
Moreover, school benefits, retirement and insurance, will need to be increased.
They will need to hire a new music teacher, and there are a few other teachers considering moving on to a larger school.
Elementary history books are outdated and new ones need to be bought. “I come from a long line of agriculture families. If we need it you buy it, if you don’t need it, you don’t buy it”
School Board Member Brad Weaver’s position is up and he is running unopposed. Jeri Roth’s seat is also up for reelection. She is running for her position again as is Kelly Rutledge and Glen Terry.
Jeri Proulx Roth writes. “I have chosen to run for Big Sandy school board again. My number one reason being, my love for my own children and the children of this community. I want what is best for our kids. Even though at times, what is best for some is not for others, I know that I have the ability to be open minded enough to discern what is best for the majority of the children. I also have a desire to do what is right for the staff of the school and the people who have been entrusted to teach, coach and administer to our students. I feel that having grown up in a different state and serving in many community volunteer positions, I have some new fresh ideas to bring to the Big Sandy School System. I understand the importance of tradition, but also feel that growth and change is vital to any successful program. I would also like to focus on helping our kids learn to be respectful. Respectful in the way they treat one another, respectful to our facilities and equipment and to respect and fully take advantage of the education and opportunities that are being offered to them here.”
Jeri continues, “I believe the biggest issue currently facing Big Sandy public schools is employee retention. I feel that we as a school board need to focus on finding high quality teachers and coaches who are willing to invest in the future of Big Sandy and our children and support them completely. The positive impact our veteran teachers have on our students is apparent. I would like to do whatever I can to encourage future teachers and coaches to come to Big Sandy, invest in our children, invest in our community and join us in making our school the best in Montana.”
Glen Terry writes, “The reason I decided to run for the school board is my passion for children. My three kids went to school in Big Sandy and now I have four grandchildren in school here. I have watched our school system over the years, and I want to be part of making sure Big Sandy’s school is the very best it can be.”
Glen continues, “I believe the most important issue in education is making sure ALL the children have access to the best educational experience possible. The main focus of our school needs to be our students, Kindergarten through graduation. I would like to see every child grow to their fullest academic and social potential while feeling safe and secure in their environment.”
Kelly Rutledge graduated in 1990 and he has had three kids in the school system. Two have graduated and one is still in the eighth grade. “I’ve had about six people call and ask me to run, and I just recently got off another board. There is no agenda, that’s the biggest thing, it’s not because of any issue, or person. It’s good to have contested elections.” And he likes to serve his community.
Kelly believes, “The biggest issue is probably going to be funding, as money gets tighter on everything; to have enough money for the best possible experience and education for the kids.”