Helena Public Schools superintendent: Montana public schools caught in middle of property tax ‘food fight’

REX WELTZ Superintendent, Helena Public Schools

The food fight. It’s a classic scene in teen comedies. A French fry takes flight. Catsup splatters, peas scatter. Within seconds the lunchroom is fully involved.

No one escapes without sloppy joes on their shirt or pudding on their pants.

Montana’s public schools are caught in the midst of a metaphorical food fight, a simmering conflict that boiled over when homeowners opened property tax bills that had spiked because of skyrocketing property values. A Montana Free Press analysis found that the median Montana residential property owner will pay approximately 21% more on their taxes this year, compared with last year, with most increases ranging between 11% and 25%.

And unlike those made-for-TV cafeteria calamities, there’s nothing funny about it. Not for homeowners, especially those on fixed incomes. And not for our public schools, which have been falsely accused of both causing the tax hikes and of benefiting from them.

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So today I write to set the record straight: Montana school districts will not receive additional funding as a result of increased property tax collections at the state level. Nor will our schools get

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