House Bill No. 542
Introduced By _______________________________________________________________________________
A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act generally revising the out-of-county tuition laws; eliminating mandatory tuition approval if the resident district provides transportation but is not in the same county as the district of choice; eliminating the deduction of out-of-county tuition from the county equalization account; amending sections 20-5-321, 20-5-324, 20-9-212, and 20-9-334, MCA; and providing an immediate effective date and an applicability date."
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:
Section 1. Section 20-5-321, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-5-321. Attendance with mandatory approval -- tuition and transportation. (1) An out-of-district attendance agreement that allows a child to enroll in and attend a school in a Montana school district that is outside of the child's district of residence or in a public school district of a state or province that is adjacent to the county of the child's residence is mandatory whenever:
(a) the child resides closer to the school that the child wishes to attend and more than 3 miles from the school the child
would attend in the resident district and
: (i) the resident district does not provide transportation ; or (ii) the district of residence provides transportation and is not within the same county as the child's school district of choice;
(b) the child resides in a location where,
due to because of road or geographic conditions, it is impractical to attend the
school nearest the child's residence;
(c) the child is a member of a family that is required to send another child outside of the elementary district to attend high school and the child of elementary age may more conveniently attend an elementary school where the high school is located, provided that the child resides more than 3 miles from an elementary school in the resident district or that the parent is required to move to the elementary district where the high school is located to enroll another child in high school;
(d) the child has been adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction to be an abused or neglected child, as defined in 41-3-102, or a youth in need of supervision or a delinquent youth, as defined in 41-5-103, and has been placed in a licensed youth care facility that is approved by the department of public health and human services and, as a result of the placement, is required to attend school outside of the child's district of residence; or
(e) the child is required to attend school outside of the district of residence as the result of a placement by a state agency or parent in a group home licensed by the state or an order of a court of competent jurisdiction.
(2) (a) Whenever a parent or guardian of a child, an agency of the state, or a court wishes to have a child attend a school under the provisions of this section, the parent or guardian, agency, or court shall complete an out-of-district attendance agreement in consultation with an appropriate official of the district that the child will attend.
(b) The attendance agreement must set forth the financial obligations, if any, for costs incurred for tuition and transportation as provided in 20-5-323 and Title 20, chapter 10.
(c) The trustees of the district of choice may waive any
or all of the tuition rate, but any waiver must be applied equally to
(3) Except as provided in subsection (4), the trustees of the resident district and the trustees of the district of choice shall approve the out-of-district attendance agreement and notify the county superintendent of schools of the county of the child's residence of the approval of the agreement within 10 days. The county superintendent shall approve the agreement for payment under 20-5-324(5).
(4) Unless the child is a child with disabilities who resides in the district, the trustees of the district where the school to be
attended is located may disapprove an out-of-district attendance agreement whenever they find that,
due to because of
insufficient room and overcrowding, the accreditation of the school would be adversely affected by the acceptance of the
Section 2. Section 20-5-324, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-5-324. Tuition report and payment provisions. (1) At the close of the school term of each school fiscal year and before July 15, the trustees of a district shall report to the county superintendent:
(a) the name and district of residence of each child who is attending a school of the district under an approved mandatory out-of-district attendance agreement;
(b) the number of days of enrollment for each child reported under the provisions of subsection (1)(a);
(c) the annual tuition rate for each child's tuition payment, as determined under the provisions of 20-5-323, and the tuition cost for each reported child; and
(d) the names, districts of attendance, and amount of tuition to be paid by the district for resident students attending public schools out of state.
(2) The county superintendent shall send, as soon as practicable, the reported information to the county superintendent of the county in which a reported child resides.
(3) Before July 30, the county superintendent shall report the information in subsection (1)(d) to the superintendent of public instruction, who shall determine the total per-ANB entitlement for which the district would be eligible if the student were enrolled in the resident district. The reimbursement amount is the difference between the actual amount paid and the amount calculated in this subsection.
(4) Notwithstanding the requirements of subsection (5), tuition payment provisions for out-of-district placement of students with disabilities must be determined pursuant to Title 20, chapter 7, part 4.
Except as provided in subsection (6), when When a child has approval to attend a school outside the child's district of
residence under the provisions of 20-5-320 or 20-5-321, the district of residence shall finance the tuition amount from the
district tuition fund and any transportation amount from the transportation fund. (6) When a child has mandatory approval under the provisions of 20-5-321, the tuition and transportation obligation for an
elementary school child attending a school outside of the child's county of residence must be financed by the county basic
tax for elementary districts, as provided in 20-9-331, for the child's county of residence or for a high school child attending
a school outside the county of residence by the county basic tax for high school districts, as provided in 20-9-333, for the
child's county of residence. (7)(6) By December 31 of the school fiscal year, the county superintendent or the trustees shall pay at least one-half of any
tuition and transportation obligation established under this section out of the money realized to date from the appropriate
basic county tax account provided for in 20-9-334 or from the district tuition or transportation fund. The remaining tuition
and transportation obligation must be paid by June 15 of the school fiscal year. The payments must be made to the county
treasurer in each county with a school district that is entitled to tuition and transportation. Except as provided in subsection
(9) (8), the county treasurer shall credit tuition receipts to the general fund of a school district entitled to a tuition payment.
The tuition receipts must be used in accordance with the provisions of 20-9-141. The county treasurer shall credit
transportation receipts to the transportation fund of a school district entitled to a transportation payment. (8)(7) The superintendent of public instruction shall reimburse the district of residence for the per-ANB entitlement
determined in subsection (3). (9)(8) (a) Any tuition receipts received under the provisions of Title 20, chapter 7, part 4, or 20-5-323(3) for the current
school fiscal year that exceed the tuition receipts of the prior year may be deposited in the district miscellaneous programs
fund and must be used for that year in the manner provided for in 20-9-507 to support the costs of the program for which
the tuition was received.
(b) Any other tuition receipts received for the current school fiscal year that exceed the tuition receipts of the prior year may be deposited in the district miscellaneous programs fund and may be used for that year in the manner provided for in that fund. For the ensuing school fiscal year, the receipts must be credited to the district general fund budget."
Section 3. Section 20-9-212, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-9-212. Duties of county treasurer. The county treasurer of each county shall:
(1) receive and hold all school money subject to apportionment and keep a separate accounting of its apportionment to the several districts that are entitled to a portion of the money according to the apportionments ordered by the county superintendent or by the superintendent of public instruction. A separate accounting must be maintained for each county fund supported by a countywide levy for a specific, authorized purpose, including:
(a) the basic county tax in support of the elementary BASE aid;
(b) the basic special tax for high schools in support of the high school BASE aid;
(c) the county tax in support of the transportation schedules;
(d) the county tax in support of the elementary and high school district retirement obligations; and
(e) any other county tax for schools, including the community colleges, that may be authorized by law and levied by the county commissioners.
(2) whenever requested, notify the county superintendent and the superintendent of public instruction of the amount of county school money on deposit in each of the funds enumerated in subsection (1) and the amount of any other school money subject to apportionment and apportion the county and other school money to the districts in accordance with the apportionment ordered by the county superintendent or the superintendent of public instruction;
(3) keep a separate accounting of the receipts, expenditures, and cash balances for each fund;
(4) except as otherwise limited by law, pay all warrants properly drawn on the county or district school money;
(5) receive all revenue collected by and for each district and deposit these receipts in the fund designated by law or by the district if a fund is not designated by law. Interest and penalties on delinquent school taxes must be credited to the same fund and district for which the original taxes were levied.
(6) send all revenue received for a joint district, part of which is situated in the county, to the county treasurer designated as the custodian of the revenue, no later than December 15 of each year and every 3 months after that date until the end of the school fiscal year;
(7) at the direction of the trustees of a district, assist the district in the issuance and sale of tax and revenue anticipation notes as provided in Title 7, chapter 6, part 11;
(8) register district warrants drawn on a budgeted fund in accordance with 7-6-2604 when there is insufficient money available in all funds of the district to make payment of the warrant. Redemption of registered warrants must be made in accordance with 7-6-2116, 7-6-2605, and 7-6-2606.
(9) invest the money of any district as directed by the trustees of the district within 3 working days of the direction;
(10) each month give to the trustees of each district an itemized report for each fund maintained by the district, showing the paid warrants, registered warrants, interest distribution, amounts and types of revenue received, and the cash balance;
(11) remit promptly to the state treasurer receipts for the county tax for a vocational-technical program within a unit of the university system when levied by the board of county commissioners under the provisions of 20-25-439;
(12) invest the money received from the basic county tax, the basic special tax, the county levy in support of the elementary and high school district retirement obligations, and the county levy in support of the transportation schedules within 3 working days of receipt. The money must be invested until the working day before it is required to be distributed to school districts within the county or remitted to the state. Permissible investments are specified in 20-9-213(4). All investment income must be deposited, and credited proportionately, in the funds established to account for the taxes received for the purposes specified in subsections (1)(a) through (1)(d).
(13) remit on a monthly basis to the state treasurer, in accordance with the provisions of 15-1-504, all county equalization
revenue received under the provisions of 20-9-331 and 20-9-333, including all interest earned
and excluding any amount
required for high school out-of-county tuition under the provisions of 20-9-334, in repayment of the state advance for
county equalization prescribed in 20-9-347. Any funds in excess of a state advance must be used as required in
20-9-331(1)(b) and 20-9-333(1)(b)."
Section 4. Section 20-9-334, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-9-334. Apportionment of county equalization
moneys -- high school out-of-county tuition obligations money.
(1) The county superintendent shall calculate the apportionment of revenues revenue deposited in the basic county tax
account and the revenues revenue deposited in the basic special tax for high schools account to the several districts of the
county. The apportionments shall be are known as "county equalization moneys" money". (2) The county superintendent shall direct the county treasurer to deduct from the revenues available in the basic special
tax for high schools account, prior to remittance of the funds to the state treasurer under the provisions of 15-1-504 and
20-9-212, the amount required for the month to pay the county's obligation for high school out-of-county tuition."
NEW SECTION. Section 5. Coordination instruction. If Senate Bill No. 70 is passed and approved and if it includes a section that amends 20-9-334(1), then 20-9-334 is repealed.
NEW SECTION. Section 6. Effective date -- applicability. [This act] is effective on passage and approval and applies to budgets for school fiscal years beginning on or after July 1, 1997.