House Bill No. 469
Introduced By _______________________________________________________________________________
A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act requiring school district trustees to submit levy, bond, and all other funding propositions to qualified electors at a single election held once each calendar year on the regular school election day; providing an exception to the limitation in the case of an unforeseen emergency; amending sections 20-9-353, 20-9-421, 20-9-452, 20-20-105, and 20-20-201, MCA; and providing an effective date and an applicability date."
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:
Section 1. Section 20-9-353, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-9-353. Additional financing for general fund -- election for authorization to impose. (1) The trustees of a district may propose to adopt:
(a) a budget amount up to the BASE budget amount for the district general fund that is within the limitations and required budget increases provided in 20-9-308(2);
(b) an over-BASE budget amount for the district general fund that does not exceed the maximum general fund budget for the district or other limitations, as provided in 20-9-308(3); or
(c) a general fund budget amount in excess of the maximum general fund budget amount for the district, as provided in 20-9-308(4).
(2) When the trustees of a district determine that a voted amount of financing is required for the general fund budget, the trustees shall submit the proposition to finance the additional amount of general fund financing to the electors who are qualified under 20-20-301 to vote upon the proposition. The special election must be called and conducted in the manner prescribed by this title for school elections. The ballot for the election must state the amount of money to be financed, the approximate number of mills required to raise all or a portion of the money, and the purpose for which the money will be expended. The ballot must be in the following format:
Shall the district be authorized to expend the sum of (state the additional amount to be expended), and being approximately (give number) mills, for the purpose of (insert the purpose for which the additional financing is made)?
 FOR budget authority and any levy.
 AGAINST budget authority and any levy.
(3) If the election on any additional financing for the general fund is approved by a majority vote of the electors voting at the election, the proposition carries and the trustees may use any portion or all of the authorized amount in adopting the preliminary general fund budget. The trustees shall certify any additional levy amount authorized by the special election on the budget form that is submitted to the county superintendent, and the county commissioners shall levy the authorized number of mills on the taxable value of all taxable property within the district, as prescribed in 20-9-141, to raise the amount of the additional levy.
(4) Authorization to levy an additional tax to support a budget amount adopted as allowed by 20-9-308(4) is effective for only 1 school fiscal year.
(5) All levies adopted under this section must be authorized by
a special an election conducted before August 1 of the
school fiscal year for which it is effective pursuant to 20-20-105.
(6) If the trustees of a district are required to submit a proposition to finance an increased amount up to the BASE budget amount, as provided in 20-9-308(2)(b), an increased over-BASE budget amount, as provided in 20-9-308(3)(a), or an amount in excess of the maximum general fund budget amount for the district as allowed by 20-9-308(4) to the electors of the district, the trustees shall comply with the provisions of subsections (2) through (4)."
Section 2. Section 20-9-421, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-9-421. Election to authorize
the issuance of school district bonds and the methods of introduction. A school
district shall may not issue bonds for any purpose other than that provided in 15-1-402 and 20-9-412 unless the issuance of
bonds has been authorized by the qualified electors of the school district at an election called for the purpose of considering
a proposition to issue such the bonds. A school district bond election shall must be called by a resolution as prescribed
under the provisions of 20-20-201 when:
(1) the trustees, of their own volition, adopt a resolution to that effect; or
(2) the trustees have received a petition
which asks requesting that an election be held pursuant to 20-20-105 to consider a
bond proposition and which the petition has been validated under the provisions of 20-9-425."
Section 3. Section 20-9-452, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-9-452. Purposes and petition for county high school bonds. (1) Any county where a county high school that has not been placed in a high school district is located may become indebted by the issuance of bonds for the purposes of:
(a) purchasing or erecting a building or buildings for high school purposes;
(b) remodeling, enlarging, or repairing a building or buildings for high school purposes;
(c) purchasing equipment for high school purposes;
(d) purchasing, erecting, or equipping a high school dormitory or gymnasium;
(e) purchasing a suitable site or sites for such high school building; or
(f) refunding or redeeming any outstanding bonds originally issued for any of the foregoing purposes.
(2) In order to initiate any bonding proposition for the above purposes:
(a) the trustees of a county high school may initiate and adopt a resolution in accordance with the provisions of 20-9-422
requesting the board of county commissioners to submit
such the bond proposition to the qualified electors of the county;
(b) a petition signed by not less than 20% of the electors of the county who are qualified under 20-20-301 may be
presented to the trustees of the county high school.
Such The petition shall must request the submission of a bond
proposition to the qualified electors of the county and shall must specify the purpose or purposes of the proposed bond
issue and the amount of bonds to be issued. Such The petition shall must conform with the petition requirements prescribed
in 20-9-423. If the trustees of the county high school approve a validated petition for a bond proposition, they shall request
the board of county commissioners of the county to submit such the bond proposition to the qualified electors of the county
pursuant to the requirements of 20-20-105."
Section 4. Section 20-20-105, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-20-105. Regular school election day and special school elections -- limitation -- exception. (1) The first Tuesday
of April of each year
shall be is the regular school election day. Unless otherwise provided by law, Except as provided in
subsection (3), a proposition requesting additional funding under 20-9-353, 20-9-421, or 20-9-452 may be submitted to the
electors only once each calendar year on the regular school election day.
(2) Subject to the provisions of subsection (1), special school elections may be conducted at
such times as determined by
(3) The provisions of subsection (1) do not apply in the event of an unforeseen emergency. As used in this section, "unforeseen emergency" has the meaning provided in 20-3-322(5)."
Section 5. Section 20-20-201, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-20-201. Calling of school election. (1) At least 40 days before any school election, the trustees of any district shall
such the school election by resolution, stating the date and purpose of such the election, and shall conduct it in
accordance with the procedures required by law, when:
(a) an election must be held on the regular school election day;
(b) in their discretion, the trustees order an election for a purpose authorized
by law pursuant to the requirements of
(c) the county superintendent orders an election in accordance with the law authorizing
such an order;
(d) the board of public education orders an election in accordance with the law authorizing
such an order;
(e) the county commissioners order an election in accordance with the law authorizing
such an order;
(f) the board of trustees of a community college district orders an election in accordance with the law authorizing
order, (in which case the community college district shall bear its share of the cost of such the election ); or
(g) a school election is required by law under any other circumstances.
(2) The resolution calling
any a school election shall must be transmitted to the county election administrator no later than
35 days before the election in order to enable him the administrator to close the registration and prepare the lists of
registered electors as required by school election laws."
NEW SECTION. Section 6. Effective date -- applicability. [This act] is effective July 1, 1997, and applies to school elections held in school fiscal years beginning after July 1, 1997.