Montana 2011 Legislature

Feb 14, 2011 5:54 PM by Marnee Banks (Helena)

Education funding discussed in MT Legislature

Montana lawmakers on Monday took up the issue of considering reducing funding for K-12 education.

Legislators heard public comment about a proposal to eliminate the adult basic education program.

The program currently helps over 6,000 Montana adults get their high school diploma.

The state funds the program with $500,000 per biennium.

Eliminating those funds as proposed would cost the state a million dollars in federal money.

Candita Hernandez of Billings testified, "I returned back to school two years ago at the age of 37, received my GED. So I believe to cut funding for adult education not only for myself but for a lot of students and adults, you'd be hurting them a lot as far as trying to make a better future not only for themselves but for their children and family also."

The Education Appropriations committee is also considering eliminating funding for the gifted and talented program.

It's a program that gives grants to over 70 Montana schools to help educate children who aren't challenged in a normal classroom.

Sierra McGrorty, a student in a gifted and talented program known as PEAK, said, "With me, trying to fit in, it is extremely hard because I find in classes I have to adjust myself, like my personality and how smart I am supposed to be to the group of people I am with. In PEAK I can just kind of just be me."

Scrapping the gifted and talented program would save the state a half-million dollars over the next biennium.


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