Montana schools get $75-million COVID relief funds

Governor Steve Bullock announced Wednesday that the state’s Coronavirus Relief Funds have been redistributed to provide additional funding for K-12 schools to cover remaining expenses incurred due to COVID-19 through December 30.

“School administrators and educators are working diligently to provide educational opportunities for Montana’s students during challenging times – and we must do all we can to support them in sustaining safety measures in classrooms,” said Governor Bullock. “While this additional funding will serve our schools with continued needs through the end of this year, our schools head into the new year empty handed and Congress must come together to pass additional relief to support our students and teachers.”

In July, Governor Bullock directed $75 million from the state’s Coronavirus Relief Funds to Montana K-12 schools to assist with safely reopening schools and the resulting extra expenses incurred due to COVID-19. A total of $10 million was reserved to cover incremental transportation costs, and $65 million was distributed based on the fiscal year 2021 budgeted ANB of each district.

In late October, the Governor’s Office sent a questionnaire to all school districts requesting information on funds utilized to determine unspent funds and if additional COVID-19 relief funding was needed. School districts that responded to the survey and had requests that could be accomplished by the December 30, 2020, deadline were eligible for additional funding.

Approximately $13 million is being allocated to schools with remaining needs and the funds are only available for expenditures through the CARES Act deadline on December 30, 2020. This funding includes transportation reserves, unspent funding from districts, and new Coronavirus Relief Funds. All funds distributed to schools must be used for COVID-19 related costs, such as for transportation, personal protective equipment, cleaning and disinfectant and incremental staffing. In addition to public K-12 schools, private schools and special education coops were also eligible to request additional funding.

In Lincoln County, Troy Elementary received $20,575, Troy High School $11,439, Libby K-12 $98,426, Eureka Elementary, $39,720, Lincoln County High School $22,799, Yaak Elem $715 and Trego Elementary $1,033.

Additionally, Libby K-12 received $10,000 in technology funding to acquire computers and digital devices.