Helena schools Superintendent Kent Kultgen will recommend the district run a small operational levy this May.

He summarized the district’s budget outlook during the Tuesday board meeting and suggested the board seek a $72,000 levy for the elementary district and no levy for the high schools.

Enrollment used to calculate state funding allotments rose by 75 students in the elementary district and dropped 69 in the high school district.

“The elementary fund is in good shape,” Kultgen said.

The proposed elementary levy would raise property taxes on a $100,000 home by $1.01.

Despite the drop in high school enrollment, changes in the state funding formula mean the high school district won’t need to seek an increase in the operational levy, Kultgen said.

The board will act upon the recommendation at its March 18 meeting.

Trustees briefly discussed the necessity of running a $72,000 levy and trustee mail-in election that costs the district around $70,000 to administer.

Kultgen noted that the levy increase would be permanently in place, while canceling an election would only incur a one-time savings.

He added that the district could cancel the trustee election should none of the races be competitive.

So far only one candidate has filed to run for three openings. Residents have just over two weeks left to do so.

The three openings this spring include two elementary/high school spots and a high school position representing Trinity and Wolf Creek districts.

The two joint positions — each three-year terms — are currently held by trustees Aidan Myhre and Cherche Prezeau. Myhre has filed for re-election, according to business manager Kim Harris. Prezeau said Tuesday that she also plans to file.

Trustee Bruce Nachtsheim, who currently holds the open high school position, said he will run for re-election only if no other candidates step forward. He said he enjoys the position but doesn’t have as much time to participate as he would like. The high school opening is for two years.

Candidates must file by March 27.

Other meeting notes:

-- Trustee Libbi Lovshin summarized the findings of the annual district audit, as presented to the policy committee. The district received an unmodified opinion with recommendations for minor procedural changes for the activities fund and unrecorded liabilities.

-- Kultgen summarized the structure of an elementary bond workgroup that will begin meeting next week. He said the meetings will be open for public observation and provide time for comment. The group will also maintain a website to provide information and updates to the public. The site, not yet functional, will be accessible at helenaschools.info.

(2) comments


One levy after another, this school district never has enough money.
Mr Kultgen are you telling us that the school district cannot find $72,000 in its multi-million dollar budget?
Time for the school district to do like the rest of us and cut back and tighten its belt a little. Maybe you can start with the bottled water delivery at all of the schools and admin buildings.



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