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Letters to the editor Nov. 19

| November 19, 2023 12:00 AM

Mysterious night sky

Regarding the Nov. 12 article “Mysterious light show over Martin City remains unexplained,” I remember a very long time ago, when I awoke late one night to discover “a bright pulsing light,” described by O’Brien Byrd in the article, and I thought I had seen a UFO. 

I ran into my mother’s room at around 2 a.m. and awakened her saying “there’s a real UFO up in the sky!” She begrudgingly walked into my room, and I pointed up at the alien spacecraft and said, “Look! Right up there!” 

She looked up into the sky, turned to me and said “that’s not a UFO, it’s a damned pulsar, now go back to bed!” 

I had never heard of pulsars before that incident but I have looked at them many times since. They appear on very clear, usually cold nights. 

I am not positive that O’Brien saw a pulsar the night he described his UFO, but it very well could have been. 

However, I would also like to point out that during the same time period, when O’Brien was discovering the night sky, Uranus had fairly good visibility. 

Before the night skies became overrun with haze and light pollution, you could see the most beautiful, star studded, pulsar embedded, wonderful night sky view on earth. I would like to applaud O’Brien Byrd for using the opportunity to look up and discover the most amazing star lit view that Montana has to offer, when it’s clear.

— Keith Blaylock, Kalispell

Funding education

Article X, Section 3 of the Montana Constitution states: “the Legislature shall provide a basic system of free quality public” schools.  

From this, we see that the “basic” system is one of “quality” schools. The state has a constitutional duty to fund schools.  

The state also sets the budgets for the school districts.  But then the Legislature has passed laws only funding 80% of the school districts’ budgets. Can they do this? I do not think so.  

Let’s assume that the state sets budgets that are sufficient to provide “quality” schools the state dollar figure might be short of that necessary for “quality” schools. But we will leave that question aside. Certainly the state’s budgets for school districts are evidence of what the state considers a “quality” education. But then the Legislature only funds 80% of that, meaning only 80% of the dollars necessary for quality schools.

Apparently the state expects the school districts to make up the 20% shortfall through levies on local taxpayers. But that cannot excuse the state from funding only 80% because the state and all of us know that school levies usually do not pass.  

So the governor returned some $500 million to the citizens (those $1,250 checks we got), and then funded education at only 80%. I don’t see how they can do this.  

The kids are left behind. 

— Jon Heberling, Whitefish