Governor Steve Bullock and House Minority Leader Casey Schreiner today rallied with Montana’s current and future leaders in support of a comprehensive education funding proposal that would increase access to public, voluntary preschool across the state, add special education to the inflationary increase, and restore the Quality Educator Loan repayment.
“The investments we make this session – that we have the responsibility to make as our state’s current leaders – will guarantee that our future leaders are set up for success,” said Governor Bullock. “This comprehensive education proposal will build upon the progress we have made over the last six years in ensuring that Montana has some of the best public schools in the nation.”
“As a father of three boys, I can speak firsthand as a parent that high-quality early childhood education is a game changer,” said House Democratic Leader Rep. Casey Schreiner. “There is no longer any doubt that public preschool is a win-win: It helps our kids and bolsters our state’s economy. I have faith that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle will support this bill and do right by Montana families.”
Governor Bullock and Rep. Schreiner joined school officials, teachers, parents and kids, dressed as their aspired future careers, at the rally and press conference, which was held prior to the hearing on House Bill 225 today at 3:00pm.
House Bill 225, the governor’s education proposal being carried by Rep. Schreiner, proposes to:
- Invest $22 million over the biennium to include four-year-old children in the state’s school funding formula. Under this model, any public school that voluntarily chooses to offer a high-quality preschool program will receive funding for every eligible student who enrolls.
- Add special education to the list of education funding components that will receive an inflationary increase each biennium. The bill also includes the statutory K-12 inflationary adjustment to increase funding for schools by $70 million over the biennium.
- Restore funding for the Quality Educator Loan repayment to help rural school districts recruit great teachers to their communities and keep them there.
In discussing his proposal for public, voluntary preschool across the state, Governor Bullock encouraged lawmakers to visit a high-quality preschool program in their community. “Don’t take it from me, see for yourself the incredible benefits, economically and educationally, of making investments in publicly-funded, high-quality early childhood opportunities.”