I read the article in the Jan. 19 Gazette about school funding. Both rural and urban schools are feeling the pinch of too little money. The article stated that all kindergarten-through-eighth-grade districts receive a basic entitlement from the state of $90,409. I felt I need to write this letter to let people know that the figure is wrong. I am the clerk of both the Nye and Fishtail Schools, and our yearly budgets are not even a total of $90,409. The Nye school receives $28,521.30 from the state which includes direct state aid, Quality Educator, Indian Ed for All and state special education payments. That figure is not near the $90,409 stated in the paper.
I don't want people to think that our small school receives such a large state payment. We receive a $4,600 block grant from the state and the rest of the budget is funded through district taxes. The amount given by the state is based on enrollment. We are a small school, so we don't receive very much money. Please consider that not all the figures coming from the paper or out of Helena are correct for every school.
Editor’s note: The story didn't fully explain its $90,409 figure. For 2012-2013 school year, the basic entitlement is $23,593 for each Montana public school district with K-6 students. Districts with students in grades 7-8 also qualify for a basic entitlement of $66,816, if they have a grade 7-8 or middle school program that meets the academic requirements set by the Montana Board of Public Education. According to information posted at the Office of Public Instruction website, Nye and Fishtail school districts received only the K-6 entitlement.