As the 63rd session of the Montana state Legislature nears, all of the groups that rely on that body to function are getting ready to make their case. And the state's smaller school districts are doing more preparation than usual.
Havre Public Schools Superintendent Andy Carlson supported a request from the recently formed Class A Caucus to the school board at their meeting Tuesday night.
Mike Longbottom, chair of the Class A Caucus board and vice chair of the Laurel School Board, explained in a letter that all of the school caucuses — classes AA, A, B and C as well as the Independent and Indian school caucuses — were trying to raise a total of $10,000 for the Caucus Day On The Hill, on Feb. 20, to make sure legislators know where Montana schools are, where they want to go and how the legislators can help.
Longbottom wrote that the money would pay for information booths, boxed lunches and an evening reception for legislators. The funds would also pay for USB thumb drives that will contain information and statistics about the schools in each legislative districts.
The class A schools were asked to contribute $1,500 toward the costs, meaning each district needed to pitch in $100.
The class A caucus — in addition to the class B and C and independent caucuses — were started in the past few years to add other school voices to those represented by the already existent Class AA and Indian school caucuses.
Trustee Harvey Capellen said it was important for the school board to support the caucus so that the class A, B and C schools are heard.
"AA and Indian caucuses are big and have sway in the Legislature, " Capellen told the board. "A, B and C are being left behind. "
The board then did what they could to make sure all of Montana's schools work together to make sure everyone is heard, and voted unanimously to pitch in their $100.