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Summary of OPI Activities for February 2016

Office of the Superintendent

Highlights of the Month

It is hard to believe that the school year is almost half over. There is still so much work to get done! In this summary, you will find information on:

  • Good news on Montana's graduation rates 
  • Upcoming conferences, workshops and webinars on Title I, Traffic Education, Montana Team Nutrition, Montana Data Use and more!
  • A professional learning opportunity through Indian Education
  • A new tool called the Data Transport System that will link K-12 and post-secondary education
  • Upcoming deadlines for the spring count, Impact Aid, school elections, Variances to Standards and more!

Please celebrate and thank your paraprofessionals, especially February 1-5 for Paraprofessionals Week. Superintendent Juneau would like to extend her respect and gratitude to Montana's paraprofessionals who go above and beyond every day for our students.

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

Montana’s Graduation Rate Reaches Record High

More Montana high school students are graduating than ever before, setting those students up for success as they take their next steps in life and adding tangible benefits to Montana’s economy.

Montana’s 2015 Graduation and Dropout Report finds the state’s graduation rate has increased to 86 percent, breaking the previous record of 85.4 percent. Montana’s dropout rate has been cut by more than a third since 2009.

“I’m proud to say the community-building work of Graduation Matters Montana is making a difference,” Juneau said. “Now, 53 Montana communities place an emphasis on the importance of graduating from high school and it’s clear that students across this state understand that a diploma is their key to a successful future.”

Over the last seven years, Montana’s dropout rate has declined from 5 percent to 3.4 percent, resulting in 851 fewer dropouts in 2015 compared to 2009.

Data show high school seniors are far more likely to drop out of school than freshmen. Males are more likely to drop out than females. It’s also true that low-income and American Indian students are more likely to drop out.

“The number of American Indian students dropping out of school is still too high, but we have made great strides in decreasing that number,” Juneau said. “The number of American Indian students dropping out of high school has declined by nearly a third since 2008. We are on the right path to continue that progress.”  

According to analysis by the Alliance for Excellent Education, Montana is likely to see significant economic gains as a result of more students graduating from high school. The Alliance estimates Montana will see a $6 million annual boost to the state’s economy because 540 more students graduated in 2015 than in 2009. Those graduates will contribute an additional $10.3 million in spending on homes, and a $700,000 increase in car sales.

“I often tell people the most important piece of paper I ever received was my Browning High School diploma,” Juneau said, “because when Montana students succeed, each and every one of us benefits.”

For more information, contact Emilie Ritter Saunders, 406-444-3160

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Accreditation and Educator Preparation

Save the Dates: April 19 and 20, 2016, in Great Falls

"Celebrating Growth in Teaching, Learning & Leading"

The 2016 Second Annual Montana Symposium connecting the important work of three Montana projects:

  • Montana-EPAS
  • Middle School Education
  • Montana New Teacher Induction Project (Mentoring)

Three great learning opportunities for the price of one. Delve into strategies that have been proven to improve instruction aimed at helping all students achieve and succeed. Two days of inspiring speakers, practical sessions, and stimulating discussions surrounding the concepts of forming and maintaining a true middle school, linking evaluation with mentoring, and building a system to support continuous professional growth in your school. Earn up to 12 renewal units. More information available in mid-February.

For more information, contact Rehanna Olson, 406-444-3114

OPI's Gifted & Talented Education Web Page, Substantially Updated

Seeking to provide easy access to web-based information for educators and families of high ability/high potential students, the OPI has reorganized the Gifted & Talented Education web page with six tabs: Requirements, Programming, Educators, Family, Funding, and AP & IB. Links to up-to-date resources include Montana's guide for serving high ability/high potential students, Montana AGATE, Montana's 2016 Advanced Placement Summer Institute and more.

For more information, contact Julia Cruse, 406-444-0769

March 7, 2016 - Due Date for Variances to Standards Applications

The Board of Public Education rule ARM 10.55.604 Variances to Standards provides trustees of accredited schools the opportunity "to implement variances to standards designed to meet or exceed results under established standards." Local trustees interested in seeking initial or renewal application for a variance to a standard must submit the application by Monday, March 7, 2016.

The variances to standards rule requires trustees to produce evidence of local public participation and official approval of the application before submission to the Variances to Standards Review Board. Successful applications will be effective September 1, 2016.

Initial Application

Renewal Application

For more information, contact Patty Muir, 406-444-4317

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Content Standards and Instruction

Writing Education for Literacy Leaders (WELL) Project

The WELL Project is officially underway!  The first workshop is in Glendive, MT and is aimed at supporting teachers to become leaders and advocates in their own classrooms, communities, and across the state.    

Join this WELL workshop on February 20th for a day of exploring the Montana Common Core Standards for writing while becoming part of a cohort of teacher leaders that collaborate and share ideas and best practices.  

The workshop is geared for teachers in grades 6-12 and participants will be given a $100 stipend, as well as renewal units. Register here and act quickly as space is limited.  

For more information, contact Christy Mock-Stutz, 406-444-0736

New Online Writing PLC

Skyview High School teachers Bridgett Paddock and Wendy Tyree (with support from OPI) are hosting an online MT Writing Teacher's Professional Learning Community to connect Montana teachers from across the state.  

The PLC is a series of monthly on-line meetings that provide a place for writing teachers (and teachers from other content areas) to share teaching strategies and learn from one another's expertise. Time will also be devoted to writing together - after all, we all teach writing! 

Join the next PLC on February 10th at 3:45 pm at the this link.  

For more information, contact Christy Mock-Stutz, 406-444-0736

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Educational Opportunity and Equity Division

2016-17 Schoolwide Plan Updates

Schools operating a schoolwide Title I program are required to update that plan on a yearly basis. The window to update existing plans opens October 1, 2015, and it closes May 27, 2016. Schools should use the upcoming months to examine data, meet, and plan for next school year. The schoolwide plan update is located under the Continuous School Improvement Plan section of the OPI website. 

For more information, contact Shawna Pieske, 406-444-5660

2016 Title I Conference

Registration is now open for the 2016 OPI Title I Conference.  The conference will be held in Helena, MT, at the Radisson Colonial Inn April 13-14, 2016.  This year's keynote speaker is Dr. Donna Beegles, a nationally known expert in homeless education.  The cost of attending the conference is $150.  Please register through MSU-Conference Services at the following link:   

For more information, contact Shawna Pieske, 406-444-5660

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Health Enhancement and Safety

Register now for a Montana DRIVE Workshop this summer

Registration is open for the 2016 Montana DRIVE Summer Workshops managed by the Traffic Education Office at the Office of Public Instruction. Come to Lewistown this summer for a fun and active behind-the-wheel one-day workshop that improves driver skill and confidence. All types of drivers are welcome and the workshop can be taken for educator renewal units or one college credit.

Space is limited and workshops fill up quickly.  For drivers over 55, the completion of this workshop can lower auto insurance premiums. Check with your insurance agent to learn more.

Visit Montana DRIVE for registration details and the 2016 workshop calendar. All workshop participants must pre-register and pre-pay the workshop. The cost for a one-day adult workshop is $325. $10 off if registered by March 5.

Teen workshops are scheduled for July 18, 19 and 20. Registration for teen workshops will begin in March. 

For more information, contact Patti Borneman, 406-444-4432

Just Published Online - 2016 Adapted Illustrated Montana Driver Manual

The latest revision of the easy-to-read, illustrated version of the Montana Driver Manual, is available for download (4.29 MB). The Adapted Illustrated Montana Driver Manual is designed to help new driver license applicants understand and remember information that is required to get and keep a Montana driver license. 

In addition to helping new drivers learn the rules of the road and pass the test for a first Montana driver license, the Adapted Illustrated Montana Driver Manual includes positive encouragement to drive without distractions and impairment, to share the road safely, and to always buckle up.

First published in 1971, the Adapted Driver Manual has been updated and republished four times by the Traffic Education Unit at the Office of Public Instruction. The 2016 edition was prepared with helpful input from traffic educators, and traffic safety colleagues at the Montana Department of Justice, Motor Vehicle Division and the Montana Department of Transportation. 

For more information, contact Patti Borneman, 406-444-4432

Montana Farm to School Success Webinar

February 9, 2016 2:00-3:00 pm
Save the date! Registration will be out soon.

For more information, contact Aubree Roth, 406-994-5996

Stepping into Montana's Smarter Lunchrooms - Webinar Series

Have you heard about Smarter Lunchrooms?  Discover how making simple low/no-cost changes to existing school lunchrooms lead students to eat better without even knowing it, while still offering the same options!  Learn how Montana schools are using Behavioral Economics (the study of why people make the choices they do) to nudge healthier choices.  These 30 minute webinars count toward approved training hours for Professional Development Standards for School Nutrition Program employees.  Participate live or view a recording of the webinars at your convenience. 

February 2, 2016 from 2:00 - 2:30 pm  

Session 4: Simple Signage in Smarter Lunchrooms- an Eye-Opening Strategy for Increasing Participation and Nudging Student Choices

Content: Don't be intimidated by using simple signage (posters, art work, place cards, etc. along the serving line) to boost sales of healthy items and increase participation. Time-saving ideas and potential partners to help a busy food service director create signage will be shared. Make your school meals program visible to students and staff.  Signage works! 

Speaker: Montana Team Nutrition- Katie Bark

Register here:

Did you miss a session? Sessions 1-3 recorded webinars are posted here:

For more information, contact Molly Stenberg, 406-994-7217

Montana Team Nutrition Workshops

Montana Team Nutrition is hosting regional workshops! The workshops are free and count toward annual training hours for School Nutrition Professional Standards.  

Gearing Up for a HealthierUS School Challenge: Smarter Lunchrooms Award Regional Workshops

Learn about the HealthierUS School Challenge: Smarter Lunchrooms Award, the easier application process and tips for success. Get started with creating a Smarter Lunchroom to help students make healthier choices. 

January 26, 2016 in Billings, 2:00 - 4:00 pm
January 26, 2016 in Kalispell, 2:00 - 4:00 pm 

Serving Up Success- Standardized Recipes Guarantee It

Regional workshops are offered for both schools and child care programs.  Using standardized recipes can save time and money in school and child care programs.  This workshop will teach the basics of creating and working with standardized recipes.  Learn to size recipes to specific yields and how to modify recipes with simple calculations. Learn how to create, use and find standardized recipes to make your job easier!  

January 25, 2016 in Missoula, 2:00 – 4:00 pm
February 11, 2016 in Billings, 2:00 – 4:00 pm
February 16, 2016 in Bozeman, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
February 23, 2016 in Kalispell, 2:00 – 4:00 pm

For more information, contact Katie Bark, 406-994-5641

Meal Counting and Claiming and After School Snack Self-review

The annual Meal Counting and Claiming Self-Review and the second Afterschool Snack Program Review are due February 1, 2016 (as applicable). Please retain the completed reviews with your files. A copy does not need to be sent to School Nutrition Programs.

For more information, contact School Nutrition Programs, 406-444-2501

Be a Summer Food Service Program Sponsor

The Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI) is accepting applications for the 2016 Summer Food Service Program for public and private nonprofit schools as well as local government agencies and private nonprofit organizations that are interested in sponsoring a Summer Food Service Program.

To qualify as a site, a facility must be located in a neighborhood where at least 50 percent or more of the children in the area are eligible for free or reduced-price meals or must serve primarily low-income children (at least 50 percent of the children must be eligible for free or reduced-price meals). Summer camps and sites serving primarily migrant children also can participate, but under slightly different rules.

Learn more about the Summer Food Service Program and start the application process by contacting us. The deadline for new sponsors to apply is May 25, 2016.

For more information, contact School Nutrition Programs, 406-444-2501

OPI Cooperative Purchase Program

The Winter 2016 OPI Cooperative Bid was awarded to Sysco of Montana.  All participating sponsors have been sent a cover letter containing pertinent contact information and updates regarding product availability. The first round of deliveries is scheduled to begin January 25 and end by February 12.   A Sysco representative will contact schools prior to the first delivery to establish each school’s first delivery date and approximate time of day.  Schools can expect the second, third and fourth deliveries to continue approximately every four weeks after the initial first delivery.

Invoices should be checked carefully for correct pricing and amount of product.  Payment should be submitted to Sysco within 45 days of receipt.  An administrative fee of up to three percent of the total invoices for the Winter 2016 Bid will be invoiced to each participant in April and payment is expected within 45 days of receipt to the OPI Cooperative Purchasing Program.

The Fall 2017 Cooperative Bid order form will open online during the last week of April and will remain open for approximately three weeks into May 2016. The order form contains information on the case pack size, brand, and price of the awarded products so schools can make informed decisions on procuring products for their school meal programs that fit within their budget.  This bid will be for deliveries August through December 2016.  The Cooperative Bid is open for use by all Montana schools, public and private, and residential child-care institutions with no initial application or fee required. 

For more information, contact Cindy Giese, 406-366-9829

Montana No Kid Hungry 2016 Multimedia Contest

Grade 6-12 students may now compete using various mediums to have their voices heard. This multimedia contest will focus on nutrition and the effects of advertising. By participating in this contest, students will be able to display their artistic talents, while also diving into the subject of media influences on food choices. They will also have the opportunity to win some exciting prizes and may be featured in a Montana No Kid Hungry ad campaign!

For additional information and details, please go to or contact

For more information, contact Katie Bark, 406-994-5641

OPI Awards $55,000 in School Nutrition Equipment Assistance Grants

In December 2015, The Office of Public Instruction (OPI) awarded eleven (11) $5,000 equipment grants to school districts participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) across Montana. The equipment grants serve to assist school districts in providing healthier meals that meet updated meal patterns, with an emphasis on increasing fruits and vegetables in school meals, improving food safety, and expanding access.  Funding for these competitive grants is provided by the Fiscal Year 2015 Agriculture Appropriations Act. School districts selected as recipients include:

  • Absarokee Elementary
  • Alder Elementary
  • Cut Bank Elementary
  • Eureka Elementary
  • Grass Range Elementary
  • Libby K-12 Schools
  • Loyola-Sacred Heart High School
  • Monforton Elementary
  • Plentywood K-12 Schools
  • Ronan High School
  • Turner Elementary

For more information, contact School Nutrition Programs, 406-444-4415

Be a Team Nutrition School

Sign up to be a Team Nutrition School and join the network of schools working towards healthier school nutrition and physical activity environments. All schools participating in the National School Lunch Program can sign up! And it’s free!

Why should your school sign up?

  • Show your commitment to helping students make healthier food choices and be more physically active.
  • Collaborate with other Team Nutrition Schools.
  • Be among the first to hear about new Team Nutrition materials.
  • Receive special nutrition education and promotion materials.
  • Apply for a HealthierUS School Challenge: Smarter Lunchrooms award.
  • Have the opportunity for your Team Nutrition activities to be highlighted. See our Booklet and @Team Nutrition for examples.

Signing up is easy and free!

For more information, contact Katie Bark, 406-994-5641

2016 School Health Profiles

The 2016 School Health Profiles (Profiles) questionnaires will be mailed in early February to principals and the lead health education teacher in Montana middle and high schools.  Profiles has been conducted biennially since 1996 by the OPI through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Profiles helps local and state education and health agencies inform and assess trends in school health education; physical education and physical activity; school health policies related to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), tobacco-use prevention, and nutrition; school-based health services; family engagement; community involvement; and school health coordination.  More on the School Health Profiles is located at

For more information, contact Susan Court, 406-444-3178

2014 School Health Profiles Report Released

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released the 2014 School Health Profiles (Profiles) results of state and U.S. data.  The Profiles is a biennial survey regarding school health policies and practices conducted with principals and the lead health education teacher in Montana schools with grades 6 through 12.  The report compares Montana and U.S. results on topics of health education, tobacco-use prevention, nutrition and dietary behavior, physical activity, professional preparation and professional development, physical education, nutrition environment and services, healthy and safe school environment, health services, family engagement and community involvement, and school health coordination.  The "2014 Profiles - Montana and U.S. Results", is located at 

For more information, contact Susan Court, 406-444-3178

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Indian Education

Online Teaching and Assessing English Learners Course

Registration opens Jan. 20th

Please register at

Course beings on Feb. 1st

Course Objectives:

  • utilize the English Language Development Standards and Can-Do Descriptors to effectively plan content-area lessons focused on the development of academic English
  • demonstrate familiarity with the WIDA assessment tools adopted for use by the state of Montana in order to diagnose academic language and literacy skills and plan for effective instruction

This course can be taken for 30 CEUs or 2 graduate credits through UM for a fee of $135.

For more information, contact Natalee Hawks, 406-444-3482

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Measurement and Accountability

K20 Data Project

Montana e-Transcript Project

As part of the OPI's K20 Data Project, the Montana e-Transcript Initiative establishes data linkages between K12 education and our post-secondary partners.  These data linkages will be used to aid high schools and colleges in a number of ways, including but not limited to, identifying causes of remediation, barriers to college readiness and retention, the likelihood a student will succeed once enrolled, what correlations can be seen between the courses a student takes and the campus the student applies to and what is the distribution of geographic locations of applicants to a specific campus.  In order for us to create these data linkages and provide this research, we must first collect the data.

In partnership with IBM, the OPI has developed a tool called the Data Transport System.  High schools and districts who are interested in participating can input/upload their student transcript data into this system which will automatically send to Parchment upon certification.  Students will then be able to request and send their high school transcripts for free!

Training will be provided by OPI and Parchment to all who sign up to participate.

For more information about this project and the onboarding process go to:

The Helena and Great Falls School Districts are fully on-board with this process - their students are able to request transcripts be sent through Parchment and are looking forward to the college readiness data it will provide them in the near future in GEMS.  We also have several other schools in the process or very interested in starting to get on board.

Any school wishing to participate is encouraged to contact the new K20 Business Analyst, Joe Hamilton at 444-0475 or

1st Annual Montana Data Use Conference

SAVE THE DATE! On May 10, 2016, the OPI will be holding its 1st annual Montana Data Use Conference in Bozeman.  At this conference, participants will hear from state researchers, university faculty and invited guests about the education data currently being utilized at all levels for educational practice in Montana.  Emphasis will be placed on future directions of data use.  Sessions will be held on the importance of understanding the different data systems in Montana, the significance of quality data, the importance of data privacy, predictive analytics and the state of student assessments.  Stay tuned as more information will be provided as the planning progresses.  If you have questions, please contact Brett Carter, OPI Research Analyst, at  444-2080 or

For more information, contact Jamey Ereth, 406-444-4409

AIM Spring Enrollment & Aggregate Hours - Count Date is February 1, 2016

The 2016 Spring Enrollment & Aggregate Hours Collection begins Monday, February 1st and ends Tuesday, February 9th.  Districts will need to report spring count date aggregate hours for all students enrolled on 2/1/16.  After verifying student enrollment and aggregate hours in AIM, districts will need to submit the data to MAEFAIRS similar to the process used for the Fall Collection. 

Here is a link to the AIM Spring Collection Guide

 Here are some additional reminders:

  1. Early Graduates – need to have a 400 End Status, with Diploma Date, Type and Period indicated – as well as Aggregate Hours that match the hours for the last enrollment (if they were last enrolled in Fall, they should match Fall, if Winter, then Winter)
  2. Montana Youth ChalleNGe – new options are available to districts regarding students participating in the Youth ChalleNGe program. Please refer to the new guide Montana Programs - Youth ChalleNGe Academy for details.
  3. Montana Digital Academy – students enrolled ONLY in MTDA courses should have the hours calculated as if the student were in an equivalent district course (DO NOT INCLUDE PASSING TIME).  Example:  One MTDA math course = 1 district math course (55 minutes per class x 180 days = 165 hours or N: 0-179 Aggregate Hours).
  4. Aggregate Hours update for districts using AIM ‘MT Edition’ – OPI staff will not be uploading the Aggregate hours for districts this year. However, the AIM staff are happy to assist with any and all tasks required in AIM. For assistance please contact the OPI AIM Help Desk at or 877-424-6681.

For more information, contact Candi Standall, 406-444-3495

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School Finance

FY 2015 Federal Audit Reports Due to OPI by March 31, 2016

The Federal Audit Reports (formerly A-133 audits) are due to OPI by March 31, 2016, for entities that have federal expenditures of $500,000 or greater; this includes USDA commodities.

FY 2015 Yellowbook Audits and Review Reports are due to OPI by June 30, 2016, for entities with federal expenditures less than $500,000 and revenues greater than $500,000.  

Please remit audit reports and correspondence to

For more information, contact Kathleen Wanner, 406-444-9852

FY 2016 First Semester Transportation Claim Forms

First Semester Transportation Claims are due by February 15, 2016. School districts must electronically submit first semester transportation claim forms TR-6 Bus Route Reimbursement and TR-5 Individual Transportation Contract Reimbursements to the OPI online Pupil Transportation Program.

In addition, a hard copy of each claim form must be signed by the board chair and submitted to the county superintendent. A copy of the signed claim form must be maintained at the district.

By February 22, 2016, county superintendents must electronically approve each district’s TR-5 and TR-6 for the first semester.

Upon receipt of the electronic claims and approval, OPI will verify and disburse the approved amount of state reimbursement for first semester transportation.

Payments will be made on March 25, 2016. Upon receipt of the electronic state payment report, the county superintendent orders the payment of the county reimbursement for first semester transportation on the basis of the state reimbursement. 

For more information, contact Donell Rosenthal, 406-444-3024

FY 2016 Budgets and FY 2015 Trustee Financial Summaries

FY 2016 Budgets and FY 2015 Trustee Financial Summaries have been posted on the OPI School Finance website.

The Budgets may be accessed at the following link:  Click Here

The Trustee Financial Summaries may be accessed at the following link: Click Here

For more information, contact Debbie Casey, 406-444-3096

FY 2015 Salary and Compensation Expenditure Reporting

The deadline for submitting the FY 2015 Salary and Compensation Report to OPI was January 15, 2016.  Thank you to the 338 school districts and special education cooperatives that have submitted this report.  If your district is one of the 89 school districts or special education cooperatives that has not submitted the information, please complete the task as soon as possible.  The information is necessary in order to comply with the Transparency and Public Availability requirements pursuant to 20-7-104, MCA.  Salary and Compensation Expenditure reports may be accessed at the following link:  CLICK HERE 

For more information, contact Steve Hamel, 406-444-0783

FY 2017 Indirect Cost Rate Applications Now Available

Districts that plan to charge indirect costs (e.g., general administration, accounting services, and personnel services) to FY2017 federal and state grant awards using an indirect cost rate must complete an indirect cost rate application form.  Application for an indirect cost rate does not increase the amount of the grant award.

The U.S. Department of Education renewed our indirect cost agreement effective for FY2017.  Consequently, some aspects of the indirect calculation have changed with this application round: 

  • Indirect Cost Rates will be awarded per school system rather than by LE.
  • The use of a carry forward calculation has been eliminated.  The calculation has been replaced with a five-year rolling average with a 5% discount. 

Indirect Cost Rate Application and resources for FY2017 are available on the OPI website.

Please review the instructions and additional documentation for more details.

Indirect Cost Rate Cover Letter (please read): CLICK HERE

Indirect Cost Rate Instructions: CLICK HERE

If you reclassify costs to adjust the indirect cost rate, please read the Indirect Cost Rate Instructions prior to reclassification of costs for an adjusted rate.  Costs that may be reclassified are highlighted in blue.  A reclassification calculator is available for aiding in the determination of an adjusted indirect cost rate. The calculator is located at the following link: CLICK HERE

Schedule A, which shows preliminary rates: CLICK HERE

The Certification forms: CLICK HERE

If you have questions or need assistance viewing the files, please contact Debbie Casey at 406-444-3096 or e-mail

If you have questions about how to complete the indirect cost rate application, please contact Paul Taylor at 406-444-1257 or, or Mari Haefka at 406-444-1960 or

For more information, contact Debbie Casey, 406-444-3096

School Elections

Upcoming Election Deadlines:

  • Tuesday, February 23rd, deadline for trustees to call for an election.  There are no longer two separate deadlines for calling an election.  Both poll and mail ballot election resolutions must be passed by this date.
  • Friday, February 26th, deadline for trustees to file their election resolutions with the county election administrator.  Within 3 days of passage of the election resolution, submit the resolution to the county election administrator.  Please include your contact information with the submission.
  • Friday, March 4th, deadline to submit a mail ballot plan to the Secretary of State.  Mail ballot plans must be received at the Secretary of State’s office by this date.  Plans may be emailed (recommended), faxed, or mailed.  Plans received late will not be accepted.

School board candidates in first class districts in counties with populations of 15,000 or more are required to report to the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices.  The filing of a C-1-A is required within 5 days of becoming a candidate.  New this year, candidates are not required to submit a copy of their filing to the election administrator.  A listing of districts required to report is located at the following link: Click Here.

To assist with the new provisions of late registration for school elections, districts may send a copy of their election resolutions to the OPI.  The election resolutions will be used only to facilitate communication between election administrators and help resolve provisional ballot questions.

Fax:  (406) 444-0509


Mail:  PO Box 202501, Helena, MT  59620

For more information, contact Nicole Thuotte, 406-444-4524

Impact Aid

Impact Aid applications are due Monday, February 1, 2016 at 9:59 pm, Mountain Time.  Districts must submit their application, along with the required signature pages, by this deadline.  Applications submitted after this deadline are subject to a 10% late payment reduction.  Applications more than 60 days late are not accepted.  Amendments to the application are accepted through September 30, 2016.   Once submitted, send a copy of the application, via fax, email or regular mail to the OPI.

Fax:  (406) 444-0509
Mail:  PO Box 202501, Helena, MT  59620

For more information, contact Nicole Thuotte, 406-444-4524

Official Enrollment Count Date

The official spring count day is Monday, February 1, 2016. MAEFAIRS Student Count for ANB must be submitted no later than Tuesday, February 9, 2016. The short reporting period is necessary to allow the School Finance Division the time needed to issue Preliminary Budget Data Sheets by the March 1st deadline.

Extenuating circumstances for students who will be gone 10 days prior to the count date, but which would support a variance, should be submitted to the OPI prior to the official enrollment count date for consideration of inclusion of the student in the enrollment count for ANB purposes beyond the 10th day of absence.

The following resources are located on the OPI website:


  • For MAEFAIRS questions, or to correct data once it has been submitted, please contact Nica Merala at 406-444-4401 or
  • For AIM questions, including how to correct student information in order to be included in the MAEFAIRS Student Count for ANB, please contact the AIM Helpdesk at 1-877-424-6681, or locally at 406-444-3800 or      

For more information, contact Nica Merala, 406-444-4401

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Special Education

OPI Montana Autism Education Project

The OPI Montana Autism Education Project has numerous free services available to public school educators in Montana. You can find a PowerPoint description of the services available and the contact information for autism trainings and student consultations on this web page.

For more information, contact Doug Doty, 406-459-5303

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Other Education News

One-day Writing Workshop

The Missoula Writing Collaborative announces The Writers’ Room on March 5, a one-day writing workshop on poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Geared to the general public, classes will be taught by twelve professional writers of the Missoula Writing Collaborative. The workshops are held 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in four downtown Missoula locations and are $60 per class or $120 for three. A $12 luncheon at the Top Hat features the film, “Kicking the Loose Gravel Home,” about Montana poet Richard Hugo and a cocktail hour at day’s end is at Radius Gallery. Renewal credits are available.

For more information, contact Caroline Patterson, 406-546-7280

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