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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Gov. Bullock Signs Public School Funding Bill

Gov. Steve Bullock signed a $77 million funding package for Montana public schools into law this week.

The public school funding bill outlines an inflationary increase over the next two years to the K-12 public school system, in which more than 12,000 educators serve more than 150,000 students.

Rep. Bruce Grubbs, a Republican from Bozeman, carried House Bill 159. He says it was important to get it to the governor’s desk as fast as possible.

"This is a major part of school funding, and school districts are waiting for these numbers so they can start working on their budgets for next year," Grubbs said.

K-12 public schools will receive a 0.91 percent funding increase next year and a 1.83 percent increase the year after.

A fiscal note from the Governor's Office of Budget and Program Planning estimates that as a result of the state inflationary funding bump, local county property taxes across the state will increase over $5 million.

The bill also outlines additional state funding for local facilities if school districts choose to add permissive property tax levies.

This week, Montana Superintendent of Public Instructure Elsie Arntzen praised lawmakers for passing the education funding bill before the halfway point of the 2019 legislative session.

Corin Cates-Carney manages MTPR’s daily and long-term news projects. After spending more than five years living and reporting across Western and Central Montana, he became news director in early 2020.
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