2001 Montana Legislature

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HOUSE BILL NO. 625

INTRODUCED BY J. MUSGROVE, FRITZ, GALVIN-HALCRO, MASOLO, OLSON, RIPLEY, WOLERY

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AN ACT REQUIRING THE GOVERNOR AND THE SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION TO CONDUCT A STUDY OF K-12 PUBLIC SCHOOL FUNDING AND RELATED ISSUES; REQUIRING THE GOVERNOR TO PREPARE AND SUBMIT A PRELIMINARY AND FINAL STUDY REPORT TO THE EDUCATION INTERIM COMMITTEE AND, IF APPROPRIATE, PROPOSE LEGISLATION FOR THE 2003 LEGISLATURE; AUTHORIZING RECEIPT OF DONATIONS; PROVIDING APPROPRIATIONS; AND PROVIDING AN IMMEDIATE EFFECTIVE DATE.



BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:



     Section 1.  K-12 public school funding study -- duties -- hearings. (1) The governor and the superintendent of public instruction shall, within the provisions of the Montana constitution, conduct a study of funding for K-12 public schools, including but not limited to:

     (a) analyzing the factors currently in law that are used to compute budget authority for schools to determine if additional factors or changes in those factors are necessary to equitably provide budget authority to public schools;

     (b) determining the appropriate allocation of funding to adequately fund elementary, middle school, seventh and eighth grade, and high school programs;

     (c) determining if a statewide salary schedule for school staff is possible under the constitutional provision for trustee management of school districts;

     (d) determining if the current budget computations are prohibiting or discouraging local decisions to consolidate school districts;

     (e) determining the adequacy and equity of the current statutory authority for public schools to access the funds necessary to provide facilities for school districts and state support for school facility costs;

     (f) determining the adequacy and equity of current funding for pupil transportation;

     (g) determining if appropriate disparity exists in the current local tax effort necessary to fund school districts;

     (h) analyzing the current allocation of state funds to public schools to determine its equity;

     (i) analyzing the relationship between increasing staffing levels in the classroom in the face of declining enrollment and the resulting financial impacts to school districts and the state;

     (j) analyzing appropriate means for school districts to calculate ANB regarding nontraditional, part-time, or distance-learning students;

     (k) determining if issues not listed in this section are affecting the equity of school funding in Montana and analyzing those issues;

     (l) analyzing the school district structure that currently exists and determining if reducing the number of districts could provide efficiency in the operations of the districts and make existing resources available for classroom activities; and

     (m) determining if the existence of 25 budgeted and nonbudgeted funds unreasonably restricts local decisionmakers.

     (2) The governor, after consultation with the superintendent of public instruction, shall prepare and submit a preliminary report by December 31, 2001, on the findings and recommendations of the study to the education interim committee.

     (3) (a) The education interim committee shall hold hearings and take public comment on the preliminary report prepared and submitted by the governor. The hearings may be held at various locations around the state to facilitate public comment on the governor's report.

     (b) by August 1, 2002, the education interim committee shall provide to the governor for the governor's consideration a summary of the hearings and recommendations for changes to the report.

     (c) The education interim committee may make any other recommendations on school funding that the committee considers appropriate. The education interim committee shall submit its recommendations and, if appropriate, prepare legislation for consideration by the 2003 legislature.

     (4) Upon receipt of the summary and recommendations from the education interim committee, the governor shall issue a final report and, if appropriate, prepare legislation for consideration by the 2003 legislature.

     (5) The governor may:

     (a) appoint one or more advisory councils pursuant to 2-15-122 to assist in conducting the study;

     (b) coordinate with any other legislative interim committee, as appropriate;

     (c) request assistance from other legislative and executive branch agencies; and

     (d) in addition to any legislative appropriation, accept donations for purposes of the study required in this section.



     Section 2.  Appropriations. (1) There is appropriated $10,000 from the general fund to the superintendent of public instruction for the biennium beginning July 1, 2001, to conduct the study provided for in [section 1].

     (2) There is appropriated $10,000 from the general fund to the legislative services division for the biennium beginning July 1, 2001, for the expenses of the education interim committee.



     Section 3.  Effective date. [This act] is effective on passage and approval.

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Latest Version of HB 625 (HB0625.ENR)
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