Helena Council donates $96,000 to local schools

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–It’s no secret that for schools to be successful, adequate funding should be distributed properly for things like education, athletics and extracurricular clubs and organizations.

Local schools in Helena got a helping hand on Monday, April 24, at the Helena City Council meeting as $96,000 was divided and given to the schools from the city’s one-cent tax fund.

Helena Elementary School, Helena Intermediate School and Helena Middle School all received checks for $17,000 apiece. Helena High School received the remaining $45,000, as $15,000 was allocated for general use, $20,000 for extra curricular activities and $10,000 for the Helena High School band.

“It’s a great pleasure every year when we look at the funds and we all discuss and get together and decide what we can do to get as much as we can for the schools,” Helena Mayor Mark Hall said at the April 24 meeting. “It’s a great night when we can give $96,000 back in funds from the one-cent fund and still make our bond payments.”

This year, the Helena City Council was able to increase the amount of money given to the schools compared to a year ago, increasing from $80,000 to $96,000 using the one-cent tax fund.

The one-cent discretionary fund has made bond payments and builds a reserve so the city can use the money for school projects, specialized training for teachers or other things that are not covered under normal funding circumstances.

In the past year, a $48,000 turn lane and guardrail project was completed at HIS as well as a fencing project at HMS. A study is nearly complete for a much-needed turn lane improvement project at Helena Elementary School.

Those accepting the checks on April 24, were Helena Elementary School Principal Mary Cooper and Helena High School Principal April Brand. Helena Intermediate Principal Kathy Paiml and Helena Middle School Principal Scott Knight were not present.

“We’re giving back as much as we can, as quick as we can,” Hall said. “I don’t know if y’all know how hard these guys work. Our jobs are so easy compared to what I see them do day in and day out and it’s not easy. So we appreciate them very much.”