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Superintendent Arntzen wholeheartedly testified in support of critical legislation to advance funding the Montana public school system and supporting special education students.

Representative Fred Anderson, of Great Falls, presented HB15 to the House Education Committee, in recognition of the importance of school state BASE Aid funding in relation to the state budget. BASE Aid is a calculation that determines the state share of funding for Montana K-12 public schools and accounts for 44.7% of school districts’ budget. Local property taxes largely compose the remainder of district budgets.

HB46 introduced by Representative David Bedey, of Hamilton, champions special education funding by adding the special education allowable cost payment to the state BASE Aid funding formula. This bill changes past precedent that for far too long left special education outside of state BASE Aid.

“Building stability into school funding has been and will continue to be my number one legislative priority,” said Superintendent Elsie Arntzen. “Having the legislature recognize equity by the responsible use of precious tax dollars in fulfilling the promise to our Montana students is the importance these bills bring. Putting each of our Montana’s students first with each of their unique learning abilities is vital.”

These two bills, HB15 and HB46 will implement an inflationary increase of approximately 4.07% over the biennium. Recognizing that school districts must begin preparing budgets for the next school year in March, the Office of Public Instruction’s goal is to have both of these critical pieces of legislation on Governor Gianforte’s desk by the close of February.

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