Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does the general fund pay for?

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    Staff salaries and benefits, instruction, programs and general operation of our schools (utilities, insurance, supplies, curriculum and instructional materials).

    The Elementary District general fund levy represents 26.7% of the general fund increase, while the High School District general fund levy represents 11% of the high school general fund increase. The total budgetary increase, including the voted portion, will be used to pay the increased cost of operations, including salaries and benefits.

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  • What happens if the general fund levies are not passed by voters?

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    Locally voted levies provide about 20% of the MCPS general fund budget. If the general fund levies are not approved by voters, operations will be affected. Between 85% to 90% of the general fund is expended on staff salaries and benefits.

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  • How will the general fund levies affect local property taxes?

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    • This levy will be an increase to the existing voter-approved levy.
    • Elementary (K-8) general fund levy: $261,504 total
      • 1.91 mills (based on 2022 tax valuation)
      • Tax increase of $2.58 per $100,000 in assessed property value.
    • High School general fund levy: $128,054 total
      • .51 mills (based on 2022 tax valuation)
      • Tax increase of $0.69 per $100,000 in assessed property value.
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  • Is there a difference between assessed property tax value and market value?

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    Yes. The assessed value of a property is used by government authorities to calculate property taxes. The market value is the sale price of a property. 

    Median property tax assessment in Missoula, according to the Montana Department of Revenue:

    Elementary District: $311,900

    High School District: $303,000

     

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  • What is a mill levy? What is a mill?

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    A mill levy is the tax rate applied to assessed property value. This tax rate is expressed in mills. One mill is equivalent to $1 per $1,000 dollars of assessed value.

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  • How long will the general fund levy be in place if it is approved by voters?

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    The levy is permanent once approved by voters, assuming the District levies that amount at least once every five years.

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  • Why is MCPS requesting this exact amount for the general fund and not more or less?

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    Locally voted levies allow the District to adopt the highest budget possible under the State of Montana’s school funding formula. MCPS funding is not based on property tax valuation - our funding is set by the formula found in state law (MCA 20-9-101 et.seq.). The levy requests on this year’s ballot represent the amount the District is allowed to ask for under the school funding formula. This portion of funding requires a vote.

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  • How will the Building Reserve levies affect property taxes?

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    • Elementary (K-8) building reserve: $3.5 million total ($700,000 a year for five years)
      • 4.8 mills (based on 2022 tax valuation) 
      • Tax increase of $6.48 per $100,000 in assessed property value
    • High school building reserve: $4.9 million total ($700,000 a year for seven years)
      • 2.67 mills (based on 2022 tax valuation) 
      • Tax increase of $3.61 per $100,000 in assessed property value
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  • What will building reserve funds be used for?

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    Building repairs and maintenance: Roof repairs, electrical system upgrades, mechanical system upgrades, grounds maintenance, facility modifications, construction, alterations, and equipping district buildings. Includes safety, health and security features, including doors, security cameras, etc.

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  • Didn't voters just approve school levies lasts year?

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    Last year (May 2022) voters approved Operations & Instruction Levies for both the Elementary and High School Districts:

    • Elementary (K-8)
      • $294,790 total
      • Tax increase per $100,000 of assessed property value: $2.78/year.
    • High School (9-12)
      • $525,962 total
      • Tax increase per $100,000 of assessed property value: $2.76/year.
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  • When was the most recent building reserve levy?

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    • The most recent building reserve levies were approved in 2011 and expired in 2016 (Elementary) and 2018 (High School).
    • May 2011 Building Reserve levies amounts:
      • Elementary: $2.5 million elementary building reserve levy ($500,000 per year for five years)
      • High School: $3.15 million high school building reserve levy ($450,000 per year for seven years)
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  • What about those big bonds a few years back?

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    In 2015, Missoula County voters approved facility bonds that funded major new construction and remodeling projects throughout the District. Building reserve levies would help maintain those investments and ensure our facilities stay in top condition.

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  • If these levies pass, will MCPS add positions?

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    The levies will not add positions in the Elementary (K-8) District, but could possibly in the High School (9-12) District. Changes in staffing are related to enrollment changes. Due to a decline in enrollment in K-8 grades, the Elementary District did not replace 10 positions (nine retirees and one instructional coach).

    • K-8 enrollment has decreased over the past few years.
    • At the same time, high school enrollment has increased.
    • The demographer working with MCPS expects high school enrollment to remain high, but K-8 is expected to remain relatively flat despite new housing development.
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  • If K-8 enrollments has decreased, why is the District asking for more money?

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    The State of Montana’s school funding formula provides a portion of funding based on enrollment. State law also allows school districts to request local levies to fund an inflationary increase of up to 2.7% to help cover increased costs of salaries and benefits, materials and utilities, etc.

    In a declining enrollment environment, the portion of the general fund funded by the state will decrease while the portion funded by local voted levies will increase.

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