Montana Legislature passes school repair funding bill
By Cole Grant/UM Legislative News Service
HELENA – The 65th Montana Legislature adjourned Friday after voting down several controversial bills.
But before that, it did give final approval to legislation that would create a special state fund for major public school repairs.
Senate Bill 307 would, among other things, allow school districts to temporarily raise property taxes — without putting it on a ballot — in order to meet a state match for these repairs.
The bill had already passed the Legislature, but the governor returned it to the House with a different reporting date.
“It’s a good way to get local participation in this quality schools program,” said Rep. Rob Cook, R-Conrad during the House discussion on Thursday.
House Speaker Pro Tempore Greg Hertz, R-Polson, opposed the bill and said voters should decide what they pay taxes on.
The House voted to pass the original bill by a wide margin, and the Senate passed it unanimously. The House voted 78-21 on the final version of the bill.
Cole Grant is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association and the Greater Montana Foundation.