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Northwest Montana Republican legislators believe that we must maintain high quality, affordable education for Montanans


Continue to improve quality education including K-12, vocational training and college


***A smooth transition from high school to college, appropriate courses of study and affordability are our priorities.

Flathead Valley Community College and the university system provide career preparation for high school graduates.  Montana’s graduates are sought after by employers nationwide.


Revise the funding formula

***Develop an equitable funding formula for k-12 education to level the disparity between poor and rich districts.

The 2003 school district expenditure report shows that the average expenditure per K-12 student is $7,649.  However, among the 448 school districts, the per student spending ranges from $3,564 to $26,516.  The purpose of the funding formula is to equitably distribute state education money to schools.  The formula has been patched several times to the point that it needs to be redone. 


Encourage districts to combine to save central administration costs

***Combine administrative functions to enhance efficiency.

We welcome input from teachers and administrators on how to provide incentives to combine school districts.   Combining school districts (without closing any schools) would save money on central administrative functions such as payroll, bidding, purchasing, contracts, transportation, food service, salary negotiations, building maintenance, bond levies, and all sorts of reports.  Combining these functions would free up money to address disparate salary schedules and health insurance benefits as well as classroom needs.






Retain and recruit quality teachers

***Provide more local control of school budgets to encourage efficiency and redirection of existing funds to increase teacher’s salaries.  Montana ranks 47th in teacher pay among the 50 states, yet Montana’s spending per student ranks Our students are doing well because of outstanding teachers and strong family involvement.  Teacher salaries are determined by union negotiations and the local school board, not state legislators.


Utilize the school trust lands to benefit the children

***Timber on school trust lands should be managed to return long-term value to schools.

NW Republican legislators were involved in promoting the harvesting of the dead and dying trees in the Moose Fire area for the benefit of schools and have also been active in providing input to the National Forest Service to provide better forest management, especially fire prevention and suppression.


Promote local control

***We oppose unfunded mandates.


Republicans know that our children are our future.  We are proud that they score high on standardized tests.  We thank the hard working parents, teachers, administrators and others who help in this team effort.  We will continue to provide quality education and scrutinize the way taxpayer money is spent to ensure that every dollar is spent wisely.