February: Love, the Legislature and Looking at Budgets
February is here and along with it comes love, the legislature and looking at budgets. I loved celebrating the many successes over the previous five months and I know there will be more celebrations to love over the next four. The District’s Facebook page has catalogued a variety of accomplishments since September and I’m sure there are more to come. Be sure “like” Great Falls Public Schools on Facebook and/or follow me on Twitter @TammyLLacey in order to get District information.
February is also about the continuation of the 2013 Montana Legislature. Education is always a hot topic for the legislators and this year is no different. So far, there has been some positive momentum around educational funding in that HB27, a bill that provides for inflationary increases for schools, as it received early and overwhelming support in the House. Hopefully, it finds the same success in the Senate and gets to the Governor’s desk ASAP. It would be so helpful to know early in the session what our base funding will be for the 2015-2016 school year. Being able to make accurate funding forecasts is a definite advantage as we begin our open and transparent budget process.
All staff members, along with community members, are invited to attend the Community Budget Meetings. The dates and details can be found on the main GFPS webpage. Also linked on the main page, I would encourage you to take a look at the “This is GFPS” video that was produced by the GFHS Video Production students and their teacher Mr. Kelly Wiles. I would also encourage you to watch “Budgeting 101” as it sets forth the details of school budgeting.
The legislature will also deal with appropriations for pre-school and for educating 19-year old students. They will be dealing with bills that could raise the compulsory attendance age from 16 to 18. They will also deal with a myriad of bills that seek to use public funding for private schools. I will provide testimony for those that could impact GFPS. I encourage you to lend your voice to the legislative process as well. You can track education bills at http://laws.leg.mt.gov/legprd/law0203w$.startup?P_SESS=20151. Just type “education” under “select a subject”. Here’s the link for contacting legislators: http://leg.mt.gov/css/About-the-Legislature/Lawmaking-Process/contact-legislators.asp.
The legislature will finish its work in April, the District will complete its preliminary look at the budget by the end of March, but the work we love will push right through to the end of the year. Thanks for all you do and will do to ensure student success as we finish the second semester strong and focused.
Take care. Be safe. Stay well.