NeighborWorks Great Falls (NWGF) strongly supports the Great Falls Public School’s Elementary General Fund Budget Levy. We support this initiative to preserve our school’s programs, supplies, and teacher training, knowing that strong public schools are foundational for a vibrant economy, stronger neighborhoods, and a brighter future for this community. Of NWGF’s five core values, achievement is of greatest importance, knowing that education is a foundation for success.
Students that have a strong elementary education are more likely to succeed in middle and high school – and in life. According to research conducted by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, millions of American children who cannot read proficiently by fourth grade are more likely to dropout in high school, with high school dropouts being of the lowest income and least-skilled individuals in our nation (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2010). In order to continue building our economy and creating stronger neighborhoods in Great Falls, we must continue to support the growth and expansion of education in this community.
As stated by GFPS, “Between 2008 and today, the District has cut more than $10.5 million and eliminated more than 100 teaching positions…” The School District’s current annual budget is not enough to maintain day-to-day operations of our public school system in Great Falls. Consequently, this leaves no room in the budget for there to be enough teachers and support staff per classroom, teachers’ professional development, curriculum/technology updates, and increased salaries to maintain and attract quality staff. For Great Falls and our Great Falls Public Schools graduates to exceed at the highest levels in education and our job market, we must remain competitive with other school districts in Montana. In order to continue building stronger neighborhoods and a more vibrant community, we must educate our youth at a quality, fundamental level.
For 40 years, NeighborWorks Great Falls has invested in our neighbors of all ages, keeping the future of this community at the forefront of our efforts. Because of our dedication to stronger, more successful neighborhoods, the Board of Directors at NeighborWorks Great Falls unanimously supports the GFPS Elementary School Levy, and we encourage you to do the same. This funding will impact Great Falls for generations to come.