Office of the Superintendent

Summary of Activities for November

Wednesday, October 30, 2013, 4:17 pm

This month’s summary has great information on the many resources available to schools at the Office of Public Instruction including:

  • Which districts are eligible for Oil and Natural Gas Impact Grants
  • Guides to help parents learn about Montana’s new content standards
  • Integrating Indian Education for All in lessons about Veteran’s Day
  • Information on the Cooperative Purchase Program
  • School-based mental health monthly webinars and listserv

Montana Students Rank among the Highest in the World

Montana eighth graders ranked above international averages in mathematics and science in a first-of-its-kind comparison of achievement in the United States with student performance in 47 countries and jurisdictions. Only four countries scored above Montana 8th graders in Science, and only seven countries scored above Montana 8th graders in Math.

Talking to Parents about Montana’s New Content Standards

Montana’s English Language Arts and Mathematics standards ensure that our students graduate prepared for college and the workforce. The standards reflect the knowledge and skills that students need to be successful in the 21st century economy. Here are some great materials for parents and community members:
Parent's Backpack Guide to Montana's New English and Math Standards (Grades K-5)
Parent's Backpack Guide to Montana's New English and Math Standards (Grades 6-12)

The Student Assistance Foundation provides $50,000 in grant funding for Graduation Matters communities

Congratulations to the 12 communities that were awarded funding from the Graduation Matters Montana Student Assistance Foundation College Readiness Fund. Anaconda, Bozeman, Browning, Columbia Falls, Eureka, Great Falls, Hardin, Hot Springs, Libby, Livingston, Missoula and Thompson Falls will receive grants ranging from $2,000 to $5,000.  These communities have goals to increase the number of students in their schools who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Other activities that will be supported by the grant include: promotion of dual credit courses, providing college and career exploration and mentoring opportunities for middle school and high school students, and outreach to families to increase awareness of financial aid and college and certificate options.

For more information about Graduation Matters Montana:

Designing the Future of Learning

Registration is still open for the Alternative Education Summit November 7 & 8, 2013 at the Paris Gibson Alternative School in Great Falls as part of Graduation Matters Montana. Alternative education practitioners, educators, and administrators, as well as those interested in starting an alternative program in Montana are invited to attend. To register, click here. Attendees will participate in a highly interactive design process built around the research of 2Revolutions. There is no charge for attending the Summit.

For more information, please contact Deborah Halliday at 444-3559 or

Student Advisory Board focuses on Student Wellness

In October, the Student Advisory Board (SAB) met with Superintendent Denise Juneau to discuss a variety of topics related to student wellness.  Thirty-eight students from across the state discussed issues such as distracted driving, nutrition and school meals, and physical and emotional well-being.  Here is an article that highlights some of the student’s suggestions.

For more information about the Student Advisory Board:

New Office Manager in Office of the State Superintendent

Amy Kruse recently joined the Office of the State Superintendent as Office Manager and Executive Assistant to Deputy Superintendent Dennis Parman. Prior to joining OPI, she worked as an administrative assistant at Smith Elementary School in Helena. She will be answering phones for the State Superintendent’s Office in addition to assisting with Graduation Matters Montana efforts. Please join the State Superintendent in welcoming Amy to OPI.

For more information, contact Amy Kruse, 406-444-5643

Highlights of 2013-14 School District Budget Data
School district general fund budgets grew by $30.3 million or 3.0% statewide to reach $1.015 billion for the 2013-14 school year and funding from state sources increased by $23 million to support general fund budgets. The remainder of the funding increase was provided from property tax increases ($9.3 million), fund balance re-appropriated ($1.9 million), tuition increases ($.12 million) and a reduction in non-levy revenues (-$4.4 million). The general fund accounts for 65% of total school budgets.

The average number belonging (ANB) count, the main driver of the general fund budget limits, increased slightly (0.8%) in FY 2014. The total ANB count for FY 2014 is 148,845. Elementary ANB continues to trend upward while high school ANB is still trending downward. Elementary ANB (grades K-8) increased by 1.6% or 1,705. High school ANB (grades 9-12) fell by 1.3% or 565.

Retirement fund budgets grew by $28.3 million to reach $164.4 million as a result of HB377, which requires school districts to lower their retirement fund operating reserve from 35% to 20% and pay the difference to the Teachers Retirement System (TRS). The payment to TRS is a one-time only expenditure for districts in FY 2014. Of the $28 million increase, approximately $22 million is attributable to the payment to TRS and $6 million is tied to increases in employer costs of retirement fund benefits (retirement, social security, and unemployment insurance). OPI projects that retirement fund budgets will drop back down in the range of $142-$145 million for FY 2015.

For more information, contact Madalyn Quinlan, Chief of Staff, 406-444-3168


For more information, contact Terry Kendrick, 444-3449