The Montana State Office of Public Instruction announced recently that Governor Bullock has released Coronavirus Relief funds for schools, both for public schools and some funding for private schools, as well.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen told KGVO News that she was gratified that Governor Bullock recognized the need to release funds for education.

“I'm pleased that he did recognize our rural state and our special needs students,” said Arntzen. “So dollars will be coming out for our special needs co-op and across our state, and only half of them requested the dollars. The other part of this is that I believe firmly in local control. So rather than giving with no flexibility, he asked schools what their needs were. Within the twilight of his term, he now understands that Montana public schools have a very large impact with local control. So we’re very pleased that he has done that.”

Arntzen said the spending of federal dollars and state dollars have different timelines.

“Schools have $41 million of Congressional dollars to spend till the end of 2022, however, the dollars that the governor has given must be spent within the next six weeks. So we are very, we're very pleased that we are offering schools that balance because the amount of uses that they have are very flexible, and they can supplant the governor's dollars for the CARES dollars that we have, that have a longer shelf life.”

In addition, Arntzen recognized that state funds are available to private as well as public schools.

“He also has given dollars to special needs co-ops, and he's also given it out to our private schools,” she said. “I believe that this virus has affected all of Montana families, wherever and what community they may reside in, and I appreciate that he is reflecting that it's not just public school system, but it is all of our school systems and how we educate all of Montana's children.”

 

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