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School leaders attribute budget crises to pandemic funding cliff, state funding frustrations

Faced with major local budget cuts, district officials say per-student funding set by the Montana Legislature has not kept up with inflation

A wave of major budget cuts is hitting public schools across the state - a situation officials from four of Montana's largest districts attribute to declining enrollment, inflexibilities in the state's school funding formula, and a funding cliff facing schools as pandemic-era federal relief money runs out.

District leaders from the Helena, Great Falls, Bozeman and Missoula public schools, meeting with reporters in Helena Friday, also said increased property values and the rising cost of living in the state are major factors impacting their ability to craft budgets that meet the needs of lo...