House Panel Cuts Big School Funding Bill

By Beacon Staff

HELENA — A big school-funding compromise is being cut at the Montana Legislature amid concerns it would spend too much.

The House Education Committee reduced the spending in Senate Bill 175 from about $120 million to roughly $40 million.

Republican committee chair Kris Hansen of Havre says the panel also axed the bill’s property tax relief because Republicans prefer other tax relief measures.

The school-funding bill still faces several potential stops where it could be changed again.

Backers have touted the measure as a bipartisan compromise that aimed to help schools that struggle with disparate issues. The sales pitch also relied heavily on the help for property tax payers burdened with oppressive local school levies.

State school superintendent Denise Juneau says much of the original compromise needs to be restored.

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