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State Budget Triggers Mean $396,000 in Cuts for Missoula Schools, Levy Possible to Backfill

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Missoula County Public schools start their fiscal year on July 1st, but the amount of money they will receive from the state has shifted radically after news in mid-July that triggered cuts in the state budget would occur because of lower than projected revenues. Superintendent Mark Thane says the cuts will hit Missoula at the tune of around $396,000.

“The areas that were targeted were at-risk student payments, special education, block grants and Data for Achievement,” Thane said. “Additionally, we have, in the past, received money that we refer to as  ‘Timber Tech’ dollars, last year that was a $33,000 payment to the district and that was also eliminated.”

Schools across the state are still scrambling to fit the new numbers into their budgets, Thane says there will be a meeting on August 17th to help plan for the shortfall. In the longer term, possible solutions to the missing funds include a levy request.

“We will have to take a good look at the budget numbers for next year and see if, in fact, we will be in a position that we feel we need to request a local levy, in order to essentially backfill and continue the level of service to which we have been accustom, but that requires some significant analysis and those budget projections before we’ll be able to make that decision,” Thane said.

Thane says the school system hopes to save money this fiscal year by using less substitute teachers and spending less on utilities, while hoping that state revenues recover in time to paint a different picture for next year.

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