Eastern Montana Schools Lose in Budget Deal

Aaron Flint posted on April 28, 2011 09:24 :: 1302 Views

As part of the budget deal brokered with Governor Brian Schweitzer (D-MT), Republican legislative leaders apparently were forced to cave on a key part of the Governor’s plan: taking money from the oil and gas school districts in Eastern Montana to help boost the budgets of schools in the rest of the state. 

“It’s just sad they are coming after a small district,” Lambert Superintendent of Schools Bill Colter said.

That’s what Colter told The Sidney Herald in this piece looking at the impacts of the budget deal on Eastern Montana oil and gas schools.

The Sidney Herald added this:

According to figures from the Legislative Fiscal Division, the state will receive $5.9 million of Lambert’s excess oil and gas revenue. The Lambert School District will keep only $482,000.

Under the plan, the state will receive $3.34 million from Baker and $1.16 million from Sidney. Baker will keep $3.12 million while Sidney will keep $3.7 million. Brorson Elementary keeps $46,000 and gives $387,000 to the state.

Let me reiterate that for you: an elementary school in Sidney, Montana only gets to keep $46,000 while the State gets $387,000. 

It seems to me that if state government wants to help spread natural resource revenues with the rest of the state, then maybe state government should do more to help spread natural resource development in the rest of the state. 

By the way- for more discussion on these impacts: Friday morning on Voices of Montana I will be talking with Renee Rasmussen, the Superintendent of Wibaux Public School. 

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