May 14, 2018


As I noted in my email to all of you on Friday, I was very disappointed and even angry about the levy outcome.  As John Maxwell said, “Disappointment is the gap that exists between expectation and reality.”  On Tuesday night, that gap was deep.  As I have processed it, Martin Luther King Jr.’s words provided me some perspective:  There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.  Because of my passion for GFPS, giving an upbeat shrug just wasn’t in the cards.  It still isn’t.  We will study the levy outcomes to determine all the reasons it didn’t pass so we can learn and hopefully do better in the future.  I will try to share our analyses with all of you, as I’m sure you have opportunities to talk to community members about the reasons as well.

A common reason I have heard is the “bond hangover” or in other words, because the bond levy passed, operational levies won’t for years to come.  One thing we can do to analyze each hypothesis is to look to other communities in similar situations.  Here is the data on that:

Cost Per Year on $100K Home Passed?
Kalispell $ 54,048,000 2016 Yes $1,000,000 $30.22 Yes
Helena $ 63,000,000 2017 Yes $438,500 $6.15 Yes
Great Falls $ 98,865,000 2016 Yes $1,349,000 $13.28 No
Billings $ 121,300,000 2013 No NA NA NA
Bozeman $ 146,500,000 2013-2017 Yes $454,000 $2.90 Yes
Missoula $ 158,000,000 2015 Yes $800,000 $10.00 Yes
Butte Currently Planning 2018 No NA NA NA

So it appears that the “bond hangover” didn’t prevent the passage of operational levies in the other AA districts.  It might have been because their operational levy amounts were smaller.  That could have an effect, but the one reason I haven’t heard is that the $1.66/month on the average Great Falls home was an excessive amount in and of itself.  I also note that the levy requests in the other AA districts are smaller because they only have those dollar amounts below their budget caps.  As they pass levies, there is not as much accumulation of budget authority that has not been voted and approved.  As we fail levies, the space below the cap gets bigger.

I have also heard that the levy failed because the community believes there is incompetent management of the district; that if I was more competent, levies wouldn’t be necessary.  If that logic holds, than the other four AA districts who ran levies as well as the numerous Montana districts that ran a levy this year (with 80% of them passing) have incompetent leadership.  If that logic holds, then what was happening from 2000 to 2007 when GFPS ran a levy almost every year?  While it may be what people think, the truth is that levies are the way schools are funded.  Levies are, by law, the way districts generate additional income for increases in the costs of doing business.  Upholding our responsibility to provide resources to do our work is not incompetence.

As I continue to analyze and share, I will update the “Asked and Answered” page (  Check back often even throughout the summer.

Wishing you all a great week as we quickly approach the end of this school year!  Take care. Stay safe.  Be well.


State Summer Games – Volunteers Needed

Please consider volunteering to help with the Special Olympics State Summer Games, May 15-18.  Simply go to our website,, and register online for any number of opportunities and for as much or as little time as you may have.  Right now we are far behind our goal of 1,600 volunteers to service the Games.  MUCH help is needed.

In-District Teacher Transfer Information

Current openings will be posted TODAY, Monday, May 14, 2018 and will close on Friday, May 18, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.

Check the on-line application system (Applitrack Link To In-District Job Postingsfor a list of all current openings.  

If you are interested in applying for these openings please hand-deliver your In-District Transfer Form to the Human Resources Office to meet the deadline.

Please be reminded that once a teacher accepts a position via the transfer process, that teacher cannot apply for another transfer position that year.


Retirement and Longevity Awards

Retirement and Longevity Awards
Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 7pm
Paris Gibson Education Center Cafeteria

All employees who have served the District 25, 30, or 35 years will be honored as well as those employees who have retired during the 2017-2018 school year or are retiring at the end of the school year.

Honorees will be sent an invitation via letter in April. If you do not receive one and you think you fall in the categories noted above, please contact Kim Fadrhonc at 268-6051. The District will honor each recipient with a gift. Desserts and refreshments will be provided.


Announcing MIET 2018 Registration

Great Falls College logo, GFPS logo, MIET Tech Days logo

Registration for MIET 2018 Tech Days is now open!
Early Bird Price is $110 if registered by May 18, 2018
Groups of 5 or more can register at $100 each, if registered by May 18, 2018
Be sure to check the posted schedule to see session topics.
Also be watching for session spotlights to get more information about specific topics.
College credits are available for an additional cost.
Check out our website!



picture of graduation hat and diploma

Lesley University Graduate Program in Great Falls

Starts Fall 2018!

Integrated Teaching through the Arts Curriculum & Instruction, M.Ed.

Program is designed for all K-12 educators
Project based – no GRE required
Skills that transfer to your everyday lessons!
Move up on the Salary Schedule as you go!
Financial aid and payment plans are available.
Regionally and nationally accredited
Financial Aid Counselor to assist Student Loan Process!
Deferred Student Loan payment 6 months after completion of your degree!
Nineteen weekends total! The entire program is completed in less than two years
$5000 Loan Forgiveness is available!              $50 application fee waiver!

Face-To-Face teaching one weekend a month: Saturday & Sunday 8am – 5pm

Contact: Cathy Kuntz


All-City Elementary Speech Meet – Volunteer Judges Needed

Yellow Stick Figure giving a speechThe ALL-CITY Elementary Speech Meet is MAY 24, 2018. To execute this outstanding educational experience, the Extended Curriculum Services department needs judges to enjoy and evaluate the speeches. We will have two rounds for all speakers, then a final round for the top 8 from 4th grade – Expository speakers, 5th grade – Oratory Speakers, and 6th grade Impromptu speakers. For this volunteer activity, you will listen to the speech, jot quick feedback for each speaker, and rank the speeches based on provided criteria and your judgement.

If you are interested and able, please come judge our outstanding future leaders at the ALL-CITY Speech meet on May 24th, at Lewis and Clark Elementary from 4:00 to 7:00. Final Round Starts at 6:00!

Please email or call 268-7402 to let us know if you would be willing to judge the elementary speech meet

In your email, please indicate:

  • I would like to judge the 1st round, 4:00 to 4:45
  • I would like to judge the 2nd round, 5:00 to 5:45
  • I would like to judge any round you need me to or both rounds!
  • I could be a final round judge if needed!


Swim lesson registration set to take place at the Great Falls High Pool.

Due to construction on the campus, The Great Falls High Pool will be offering two 2 week sessions of swim lessons this summer.  Sessions will begin on June 4th and June 18th .  One half hour classes will be offered from 9 AM until noon in the morning session and from 6-7 PM  in the evening session.  Classes run Monday –Thursdays. Cost is $40 for ages 5 and up, $45 for ages 4 and under.

Registration will take place at the pool office from 4-7 PM on the following dates:
May 14-18
May 21-24
May 29- 31

For more information contact Bob Stingley at 268-6281,
Or Julie Anderson at 268-6266,


Retirement Celebration
East Middle School logo

Come join us in celebration of Laurie Pipinich, Marilyn Cron,
Steve Krogstad, Mary Jan Mayernik and Bonnie Jensen
and their retirement at 2:30 in the East Rams Library, May 23rd.



C.M. Russell High School Retirement Tea

Green Charles M. Russell High School logo


You are cordially invited to C.M.Russell High School ‘s 2018 Retirement Tea honoring Sara Buley,
Brenda Huston, Terri Jones  for their years of dedication and service to the students of CMR
 May 23rd at 2:40p.m. ~ CMR Cafeteria



North Western Energy logo
NorthWestern Energy Event

What:  Beyond the Dam, concert & bike ride event
When:  Friday, June 8 and Saturday, June 9
Why: To share dam safety messages with the public
Where:  Heritage Park (inside Giant Springs State Park) in Great Falls, MT

For the second year we are excited to sponsor this companywide signature event, “Beyond the Dam.” This event will be held in Great Falls, due to the great trail access around several of our hydro-electric facilities.

If you’ve never been to these facilities – this is your chance to get unprecedented access! The bike route takes you across Black Eagle and depending upon your skill level – Rainbow and Cochrane Dams. There is a beginner, intermediate and advanced route.  The intermediate and advanced rides will have timing chips and support at the first aid booths from Heed Energy Drinks out of Whitefish, Montana.  Learn more about the bike ride and register here: . Not a biker? You can still join us in the fun by helping staff the event or coming to the pre-event.

New this year – June 8th, beginning at 5 p.m. there will be a concert at Giant Springs Park with opening act F.O.G., followed by the well-known Bop-A-Dips from 7-9:30 p.m.  The music will conclude with a fireworks display that you won’t want to miss. Join us for a great night in Heritage Park. You’re welcome to pack in your own dinner, cooler or picnic, just leave the glass and dogs at home!  Don’t forget a chair.

As you can imagine an event of this size requires a small army of volunteers to pull off – and we would love to have more support! If you’re interested in learning more about how you might be able to help, contact Heidi Hockett at 406-590-1803 or by email at

Help us spread the word! Invite your family and friends.  Invite friends from the gym.  Invite your neighbors. Please share the event at NorthWestern’s Facebook page or point people to:

All race proceeds benefit the River’s Edge Trail to help improve the trails around the Missouri River.


Retirement for Kathie Heusel

May 22nd, 2018
Good Time Charles Banquet room