Superintendent Greg Upham speaks on Mill Levy concerns

Ballots for the School District 2 Mill Levy are expected to be mailed out this Thursday.

KULR-8 spoke with School District 2 Superintendent Greg Upham, and one high high school student to answer some of your concerns about the mill levy.

"Their books are literally falling apart when people use them, and a lot of the times too even with the newer AP classes, since the books costs so much we can't, there is not enough money so we can't take those books home," said Emma Martinsen, a junior student at Senior High. 

The mill levy would produce almost a million dollars a year, with most going towards new textbooks, more tools for science and math, and help career counselors.

But how do we know where the money is going? Superintendent Greg Upham says SD2 needs to do a better job at informing the public of what they do with the funds.

"We need to partner with them and we as a school district need to do a better job of showing just exactly how we're using the money and bring our community in the partnership with us they'll be excited to see the impact the positive impact it has for our students both from a learning component and also a career readiness piece," said Upham. 

And Upham said he has partnered with a marketing firm to show the public in the future where their money is going.

Another question has been, why buy textbooks when everyone is going digital?

"We are going digital, and we are digital. We need a consistent curricular resource. We can't rely on one teacher getting an open source here and another open source here, we have to pay that, but the majority of our instruction materials are digital. We buy enough textbooks for classroom sets for students who may not have access to technology, but most of our curricular materials are digital," Upham explained. 

Martinson says many of the students still do rely on textbooks in certain courses.

"Some of the classes it depends on what class you're in will use books more. For example, math our math books are in okay shape but they are mainly we do use our books in math and for AP history, all of our AP classes we use books a lot," Martinsen said. 

So why should home owners who don't have children in School District 2, feel the need to pay more on their property taxes?

"Well this could potentially also benefit the community, benefit back to the community because these people with better books and better science equipment can go out and get jobs better jobs and come back and help Billings in return," said Martinsen. 

Upham added, "Right now education is probably as or more important than its ever been in the history of our nation. We need a skilled and trained workforce so that being said, we can now create opportunities for students that can get them into the workforce and into their careers at a much earlier age and we'll need education to support them."

Students will be holding a day of action, where they will be knocking on doors asking for your vote on April 29th. The ballots will be due no later than election day on May 7th. 

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