Montana Rural District Coalition Secures Additional Funding for Schools

Last Updated: April 28, 2012

This article appeared in the April 2012 Rural Policy Matters.

Editor's note: Links are free and current at time of posting, but may require registration or expire over time.

The Montana Quality Education Coalition (MQEC) successfully negotiated a settlement with the State of Montana in a recent lawsuit that alleged that the state illegally cut funding from school districts.

MCEC ended the lawsuit after reaching an agreement with the state attorney general’s office that will ensure that funding for districts will be adjusted upward by the full 2.43% inflationary factor as required by law and by the Columbia Falls v. State school finance decision.

Last year’s funding bill increased education dollars by the inflationary amount, but that was contingent on the success of another bill. When Governor Brian Schweitzer vetoed the second bill, the inflation factor was automatically reduced to 1.6%. As a result of the veto, the final allocation for schools was millions of dollars short of the constitutionally required amount. (For more background on the lawsuit, see previous RSFN coverage here.)

By resolving this issue this month, districts will have time to incorporate the results of the settlement for next year’s budget planning. The settlement means approximately $4.6 million more school funding dollars for districts statewide.

Read more:

Local coverage:

MQEC homepage:


Read more from the April 2012 Rural Policy Matters.