By Ron VandenBoom
Gail Gray, Democratic candidate for superintendent of public instruction, arrived at Robins School Tuesday in a small yellow school bus to rally support for her campaign.
A group of about 20 children and parents crowded around Gray as she announced that Havre children were very lucky because they had very good schools.
Gray told the children the school bus she is using to travel the state represents access to education and opportunity.
"How do people get to school," she asked the children, explaining the school bus allows children access to school.
Gray is on a campaign swing along the Hi-Line asking people what they like about their schools and what they think should be changed, she said.
She told the crowd of supporters that the number of students has been dropping in Havre. That means, she said, that the amount of money Havre has to spend on its students also drops.
"The amount of money Havre has to spend on schools has dropped by about $150,000 a year," she told the kids.
Gray is also using her trip to talk about safe schools, vocational education, and how to get the best schools, she said.
"I am also talking about art and how important it is," she said, noting that students who are exposed to art at an early age become better readers and have higher math scores.
Gray has worked as assistant superintendent of public instruction for more than 11 years and says she is seeing schools having to do more with less in recent times.
"It is the number one issue," she said.
Also high on parents' agenda is more accountability in the schools.