Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction, Elsie Arntzen, released preliminary numbers of how much funding that Montana’s K-12 public schools will receive from the federal CARES Act stimulus bill that was passed in response to the COVID-19  outbreak.

“We want to get our federal dollars out to schools as quickly as possible,” said Superintendent Arntzen. “We are giving schools the $41.2 million in a program of K-8 $10,000 and if you are a high school, you will also get $10,000, so if I’m a K-8 district I’ll receive $10,000 and if I’m a K-12 district I would receive that times two or $20,000.

Arntzen said there are very few strings attached to these funds from the CARES Act.

“We want school districts to use these funds in a short time frame, so we need to get these funds out to them quickly. “This is added money, so it won’t affect their budget at this point. And we are very pleased that they can use it for multiple reasons. Regulations that were imposed under the previous president have also been released and this president has opened them up even more.”

Arntzen said the meals served to children either in school or delivered by buses are all coming from the Department of Agriculture.

“This goes through Secretary Purdue and we are doing everything we can to understand what the federal government can release,” she said. “Most importantly, we’re going to be at the table when normalcy returns saying you released all this now during these uncertain times, will you please not put the old regulations back in place. Montana is a local control state and we want to continue, because local communities know what’s best in assessments for our children at the local level, not just at the federal level.”

The $41.2 million will flow through local districts Title I formula but districts have flexibility in how they use the funds. Superintendent Arntzen is using a portion of the state set aside from the CARES Act to ensure that every district receives at least $10,000.


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