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School Funding Around the Nation

Montana's school building crisis: The complete five-part series

This five-article series on state funding of educational facilities accurately describes the current challenges facing Montana's public schools.

Read the series here.

Expansion of Education Savings Accounts Considered in Nevada

Nevada's current program offers $5,000 per child per year to pursue non-public education.  Tuition as well as transportation can be paid from the funds, which can be used to support private and home schooling. Additional options to be considered include a waiver of the 100-day waiting period after a student withdraws from public school, or elimination of the waiting period altogether.

Read the full article here.


Universal Pre-K in NYC increases enrollment by nearly 50,000 students

Universal access to pre-K educationhas expanded access for New York City's 3- and 4-year-old students. A total of 68,500 students are enrolled in early childhood education as of December, 2015, up from a base of 20,000 students in 2012. Mayor Bill de Blasio's 2013 election campaign centered on universal pre-K education for children in all 5 boroughs.

Read the full article here.

Download the 2014 National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) State of Preschool 2014 Report


Test Your Knowledge of Montana School Funding

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See how much you know about Montana school funding! With 10 multiple choice/true-false and 11 matching questions, this is a great opportunity to learn or recall important facts about funding.

Funding Quiz                                      Answers to Funding Quiz

* Special thanks to the quiz author Pad McCracken, Research Analyst for the School Funding Interim Commission, for permission to reprint this quiz.


Announcing RISE 4 Montana

 

RISE 4 Montana is a teacher recruitment and retention initiative formed with the intent to increase the quantity of qualified educators and to preserve the quality of Montana's qualified educators.

RISE 4 Montana is a joint initiative of the Montana Association of School Business Officials, MEA-MFT, Montana Quality Education Coalition, Montana Rural Education Association, Montana School Boards Association, School Administrators of Montana, the Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences and Montana State University’s Department of Education.


Assistance with Internet Upgrades - No Cost to Montana Schools

Released August 31, 2015

Governor Bullock and Superintendent Juneau are pleased to announce a partnership with EducationSuperHighway (ESH), a national non-profit focused on upgrading Internet access in public schools so all students can take full advantage of the promise of digital learning. ESH will be providing tools, technical assistance and consulting services to the state and to districts, all at no cost. This exciting opportunity will support robust Wi-Fi in schools and help districts obtain the bandwidth students need in the 21st century classroom.

ESH team members will be reaching out to directly to districts and other stakeholders in the coming weeks in order to assess current broadband status, assets and capabilities. This data will be compiled into a Connectivity Report that will provide a comprehensive review of broadband challenges and opportunities for K-12 schools. ESH—in close collaboration with the Governor’s Office, the Office of Public Instruction, the service provider community, and schools across the state—will use the Report’s results as a starting point to identify options and strategies for bringing affordable, scalable high-speed broadband access to schools in Montana.  Further information about ESH and the resources it offers is available at its website:  www.educationsuperhighway.org.  More information about the partnership with Montana will be announced on September 14 at the MASS Fall Conference in Bozeman.


No Easy Answer for Low Teacher Pay in South Dakota

The South Dakota Task Force on Students and Teachers met for the first time in July with the purpose of preparing recommendations for the upcoming 2016 legislative session. Among other things, the Task Force will propose action to bring teacher pay in the state up from its current ranking of last in the United States.

Read the full article here.


SB 410: MT-PEC Requests Directive Specifying Tax Credits For Private Schools  Comply With Montana Constitution

MQEC has joined all other members of MT-PEC in a joint statement urging Governor Bullock to direct the Department of Revenue to ensure that tax credits for private schools are allowed only for nonsectarian private schools.

Read the request to Governor Bullock here.


Montana's per-student school funding held relatively steady during the Great Recession. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, per-student funding in Montana was only $38 lower in 2014 than in 2008 when indexed for inflation. Overall, the state maintained a consistent contribution of 42% to 43% of the annual cost to educate our students between 2005 and 2014.

Read the CBBP report and the OPI data on per-student funding.


Survey finds  over half the nation's schools in need of repair

The National Center for Education Statistics, a reporting arm of the U.S. Department of Education, conducted a nationwide survey of public school facilities for the 2012-2013 school year. Respondents were asked to evaluate 24 features of the interior and exterior of the school building. 54% stated they needed to expend funds to bring the buildings into a state of 'good' repair. The cost for these upgrades totaled approximately $197 billion dollars, averaging a per-building cost of $4.5 million.

Read the full report here.

For information  closer to home, the 2008 Montana K-12 Public Schools Facility Condition Assessment identified nearly $360 million would be needed to bring our school  buildings into a state of 'good' repair. To make these repairs in 2015, the cost would be approximately $417 million.


Oklahoma Legislator Withdraws School Voucher Bill After Polling Indicates Public Disapproval

In a heavily Republican Oklahoma legislature, State Senator Clark Jolley withdrew a bill designed to create 'education savings accounts' that would have used public funds to pay for private school costs. The apparent impetus for the withdrawal was a poll of Oklahoma voters that showed an overwhelming disapproval (60%) of using public funds for private schools.

Montana's numbers on this issue are even stronger. The MT-PEC poll conducted in late 2014 showed almost 74%, or 3/4 of Montana voters, oppose providing tax benefits for private schools that do not permit public input and transparency.

Read the full article on the Oklahoma legislation here.

Read the results of the Oklahoma poll here.


The Reality of  "National School Choice Week"

Tom Gentzel, Executive Director of the National School Boards Association, discusses the reality of "school choice" and echoes MT-PEC's position - school choice is alive and well right now in public schools in Montana and across the nation. 

The "school choice" movement is an attempt to redirect public tax dollars in support of for-profit schools, amounting to a taxpayer subsidy for private education. If this is allowed in Montana, the redirection of K-12 funding will harm our public schools and decrease opportunity for the 142,000 public school students in the state.


Read the complete article here.


Press Release: Helena, January 26, 2015:

The Montana Quality Education Coalition today announced its support of Governor Bullock’s Early Edge pre-k proposal and committed resources to help increase support for early childhood education.

Read the complete news release here.


Press Release: Helena, January 22, 2015: 

Early Edge - Public Education Advocacy Groups are United In Support of Early Edge

The Montana Public Education Center (MT-PEC) announces its united support of Governor Bullock's Early Edge Montana program intended to offer voluntary, universal pre-k services to all four-year-olds in Montana.

Read the complete news release here.


Montana Receives $10 MM Department of Education grant to assist preschool development efforts

Montana is one of five states in the nation to receive funding to help develop statewide preschool programs. Funding is awarded through the U.S. Department of Education and Montana's initial allocation is $10 million. Grants can be renewed for an additional 3 years for a total of $40 million. Thirteen states were also awarded funding to enhance already established programs.

16 school districts will receive grant disbursements. Some of the funds will be directed to educators seeking certification in early childhood education.

Read the complete news release here.

Read the details of the OPI selection criteria here.


Governor Bullock's Proposed Budget FY16-17

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The Governor's proposed budget for the 2017 biennium is the most education-friendly budget in recent history. All elements of the funding formula include appropriate inflationary increases and new funding for pre-K education is included at $37 MM.

However, some elements of SB 175 are not funded as provided in statute and school facilities continue to be funded through competitive grants to a limited number of districts.

View the MT-PEC Summary of the proposed budget here.

View the complete biennial budget on the state web site here.

© MQEC2015