Helena Public Schools is facing some tough financial decisions, and they are bound to get even tougher.
To help battle a projected budget shortfall of over $1 million, the school district offered early retirement incentives to about 40 veteran teachers this year. A consultant has recommended that the district consider either not replacing the retiring teachers or replacing them at the minimum salary schedule, which is generally for less-experienced and less-educated faculty members.
Although this will decrease employee wages by about $280,000, the school district still needs to find ways to save hundreds of thousands more. The many solutions on the table include ending wage increases other than step increases and developing a less expensive salary schedule for certified staff.
The current administration is not at fault for the projected budget shortfall, which is the result of financial decisions dating back several decades.
However, the current administration is responsible for implementing solutions that will get the school district back on track now and in the future. And as Superintendent Tyler Ream said at a recent school board meeting, “All we have are hard solutions left.”
It was disturbing to learn that a Montana lawmaker believes the U.S. Constitution allows socialists to be jailed or shot.
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Rep. Rodney Garcia, R-Billings, made the statement during a recent gathering of his state party in Helena. Although the Montana Republican Party condemned his remarks and Republican leaders in the Montana House of Representatives have asked him to resign, Garcia refused to step down and is now running for election to the Montana Senate.
Garcia clearly has inaccurate and dangerous ideas about the supreme law at the heart of our government. Now that he has shown his true colors, it’s up to the voters in his district to decide whether they still trust him to act in the best interest of Montanans.
Needless to say, we sure don’t.
Congratulations to Jessie Royer of Seeley Lake for her fifth Race to the Sky win.
After winning the 500-mile race at age 17 in 1994 and the 300-mile race in 2015, 2016, 2018 and now 2020, Royer has won the annual dogsled race more than any other musher in history. She will now go on to represent Montana in her 18th Iditarod, which starts March 7 in Anchorage, Alaska.
Preparing for and participating in a multi-day dogsled race in the dead of winter is not for the faint of heart, and Royer has repeatedly demonstrated that she is among the best of the best mushers in the world.
Royer is nothing short of a legend, and we are proud that she calls Montana home.