Last week, the Missoula County Public School's Board of Trustees approved operations levies for both the elementary district and high school district.

The levies will appear on the school election ballot being mailed in mid-April and must be returned to the Missoula County Elections Office by May 3.

KGVO News spoke to MCPS Public Information Officer Tyler Christensen who provided details on the levies that Missoula County taxpayers will be asked to approve.

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“The elementary levy is going to be a total of $294,790 which works out to $2.78 a year for every $100,000 in assessed property value,” began Christensen “The high school levy amount for those who live in the high school district is a total of $525,962, and that works out to about $2.76 a year for every $100,000 in assessed property value.”

Christensen explained how the levy amounts are set.

“Our budgeting office here in Missoula County Public Schools works has a lot of experience working those numbers out, and those are then presented to the board for final approval and review for those operations,” she said. “Levies will allow us to sustain our current level of staffing and program operations. Levees also pay for utilities, supplies or curriculum and teaching materials, all of those things.”

In addition, the election of new Missoula County Board of Trustees has drawn a great deal of attention after the school district has experienced two years laboring under the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There are six Board of Trustees seats up for election on the May 3rd ballot,” she said. “Three of those are in the K through 12 district. Those seats represent both the elementary and middle school districts for a three year term, as well as the high school district. In addition to those there are three high school trustee seats, one in district A, one in District B, one in District C, and one of those is a three year term. The other two are two year terms. For more information about that we have some information on the Missoula County Public Schools website.”

Christensen explained why the levies are so important in maintaining the quality of public education.

“The previous levee that was passed was three years ago, and in that time, a lot has changed,” she said. “Our high schools have increased enrollment by more than 150 students. Plus, there have just been some unique educational challenges that our educators have done a great job as they stepped up to meet the needs of our students during those times. We were able to provide critical programs that address student mental health and learning loss, and these operations levees will help us continue those programs.”

If both levies pass, the total tax impact on a property that is served by both our elementary and high school districts will be a combined total of $178.78 per year per $100,000 in assessed property value.

Missoula taxpayers are also still paying on the $158 million in school bonds issued several years ago that built new and remodeled several older public schools.

The May 3 election is a mail-in only election.

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