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April 5, 2012

Bullock: Schools get additional $4.6 Million under settlement

Montana schools will receive an additional $4.6 million as the result of a settlement negotiated between the Montana Attorney General’s Office  and the Montana Quality Education Coalition, Attorney General Steve Bullock announced this week.

“The settlement agreement reflects the legislature’s obligation to adequately fund quality public schools,” Bullock said.  “The terms of the settlement will provide Montana schools with an additional $4.6 million, which represents the full adjustment for inflation specified in Montana law – and that’s good news for students and schools throughout our state.”

The 2011 Legislature initially approved a bill that gave public schools a 2.43 percent increase for inflation this year.  However, at the same time, legislators put language in the school funding bill, SB 329, that cut this funding if an unrelated bill, HB316, did not pass or was vetoed.

When Gov. Brian Schweitzer vetoed HB 316, which concerned a transfer of earmarked revenue to the state general fund, the inflationary increase for public schools was therefore reduced.

Bullock said the settlement agreement accomplishes two important goals – it funds the inflationary adjustment for schools at the level provided by statute and it will avoid costly litigation over a matter that is clearly spelled out in the law.

A breakdown of the amounts each school will receive is here.