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School cuts less likely under proposed budget

| January 6, 2005 11:00 PM

The new governor¹s proposal to increase state funding of K-12 schools makes it less likely that Libby Public Schools will have to cut something, said Superintendent Kirby Maki Wednesday.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer announced on Dec. 28 that his new budget would increase state funding of K-12 public schools by $57 million over fiscal 2006 and 2007.

The proposed budget must be approved by the Legislature and could change during the session.

³Maybe it should be a lot more, but it¹s not a bad thing,² said Maki of the announcement.

Maki said that while the increase wouldn¹t allow the district to add any programs it makes it ³less likely to cut things.²

The money would likely offset enrollment losses that the district has had, said Maki.

Schools are given per-student entitlement based on enrollment. Schweitzer¹s proposed budget would increase the elementary per-student entitlement by $250 and the per-student high school entitlement by $50.

Maki said the loss of 50 or 60 students that the district has each year could be made up with the extra money.

He also said that the money for elementary students is important because extra money could help prevent a high student to teacher ratio.

³It gives us a better feeling of what can be done,² he said. ³We can look to the future about what we might have.²

The planned budget adds nearly $30 million on top of Gov. Judy Martz¹s proposed $28 million increase.