Our View: School boards of all sizes need support
The Havre Public Schools Board of Trustees has joined a group of Class A school districts around Montana to help take their issues to the Montana Legislature during the coming legislative session.
Finances are a main topic of concern. The district will want to make sure that it gets its fair share of the state funds that are likely headed toward the schools this year.
But the district will also want to protect its position in a variety of other topics.
Rep. Kris Hansen, R-Havre, will chair the House Education Committee this year. She has some innovative and controversial proposals, and the school districts will want to make sure their voice is heard when the Hansen proposals are put to the test.
Class A schools are the second largest category of Montana schools. The large enrollment schools — such as those in Missoula and Billings — are Class AA and they have benefitted from having their own organization making their case in Helena. Native American schools also have their own organization that has met with moderate success in pushing for programs that benefit them.
Schools of different sizes have different problems that need different solutions from Helena.
But let's not put too much emphasis on school district size.
The winds of change are blowing in Helena. Schools should always be open to doing things differently, but school board members are where the rubber meets the road. They are the ones responsible for balancing the budgets and providing quality education to everyone from advanced placement to special needs children. They have to face parents and taxpayers every day. They are the ones blamed when school buses fail, when roofs cave in, when activities are cut.
The Montana School Boards Association represents these brave volunteers when the high and mighty meet in Helena.
The changes proposed in Helena this year will affect every district of every size — from Billings to Rocky Boy, from Havre to Big Sandy.
On these issues, a united front of board members from all sizes of schools is needed.