5-20-301. School funding interim commission. (1) There is a school funding interim commission that must be formed during the 2015-2016 interim and each successive fifth interim pursuant to 20-9-309. The commission shall:
(a) conduct a study to reassess the educational needs and costs related to the basic system of free quality public elementary and secondary schools; and
(b) if necessary, recommend to the following legislature changes to the state's funding formula.
(2) In conducting the study, the commission may:
(a) review the work of previous studies and commissions;
(b) consider recommendations and topics provided by other interim or standing legislative committees, the board of public education, the office of public instruction, the governor's office, private organizations, professional educators, school trustees, and members of the public;
(c) review how the state's education funding policy has evolved as a result of litigation;
(d) seek input from representatives from the board of public education, the office of public instruction, the governor's office, private organizations, professional educators, school trustees, and members of the public;
(e) consider the state's existing and projected financial resources as well as the needs and concerns of Montana taxpayers;
(f) authorize research and studies to be conducted by reputable and reliable experts in the public or private sectors; and
(g) request research and analysis from the legislative fiscal division, the office of public instruction, the department of revenue, and any other state agency or entity that maintains information or data relevant to the study.
(3) The members of the commission are:
(a) six members of the house of representatives, three from the majority party and three from the minority party, appointed by the speaker of the house in consultation with the house majority leader and the house minority leader;
(b) six members of the senate, three from the majority party and three from the minority party, appointed by the president of the senate in consultation with the senate majority leader and the senate minority leader; and
(c) four members of the public to be appointed as follows:
(i) two public members appointed by the speaker of the house with the consent of the house minority leader; and
(ii) two public members appointed by the president of the senate with the consent of the senate minority leader.
(4) The commission shall select its presiding officer at the first meeting of the commission.
(5) The commission is attached for administrative purposes to the legislative services division, and the legislative services division shall provide sufficient and appropriate support to the commission in order that it may carry out its statutory duties, within the limitations of legislative appropriations.
(6) The commission is staffed by the legislative services division. The legislative fiscal analyst shall assign staff to assist the commission.
(7) The commission shall issue a report on the commission's findings and recommendations, including any draft legislation for amending the state school funding formula, by no later than September 15 preceding the next regular legislative session.
(8) Unless the person is a full-time salaried officer or employee of the state or a political subdivision of the state, a nonlegislative member appointed to the commission is entitled to salary and expenses to the same extent as a legislative member. If the appointee is a full-time salaried officer or employee of the state or of a political subdivision of the state, the appointee is entitled to reimbursement for travel expenses as provided for in 2-18-501 through 2-18-503.
History: En. Sec. 1, Ch. 359, L. 2015.