February 25, 2021
Superintendent of Public Instruction, Elsie Arntzen, attended today’s Bill signing of legislation, HB 15 , sponsored by Representative Fred Anderson of Great Falls, that will ensure funding for Montana’s public schools. State funding of Montana’s public schools amounts to 45 cents of every state tax dollar. This is the third Legislative session in a row that Superintendent Arntzen has achieved successful passage of public school funding before the end of February. The Office of Public Instruction (OPI) is obligated by state statute to send next year budget estimates to public school districts by March 1 every year.
Elsie Arntzen, Superintendent of Public Instruction: “The signing of HB 15 into law today by Governor Gianforte fulfills a promise to our students and families. Our public schools now have the foundation to prepare for engaging student learning next year. I am proud of the bi-partisan collaboration of the Legislature and Governor Gianforte. Their timely support honors my longstanding commitment to provide stability in school funding for Montana’s students and families. Today, we all celebrate putting Montana’s students first.”
The effect of HB 15 is an inflationary addition base amount for school equity – BASE Aid – which is a calculation that determines the state share of funding for Montana K-12 public schools and accounts for 69% of school districts’ general fund budget. Specifically, the BASE Aid distributions to Montana’s public schools is $827 million for next year, and $866 million for the 2022-2023 school year. This distribution is carried in HB 2 sponsored by Representative Llew Jones. For more information about public schools state finance and local school district budgets, please see OPI’s Understanding Montana School Finance and School District Budgets publication.
Dr. Greg Dern, Communications Director, 406-444-3449