Wonky Word Wednesdays: Basic Entitlement

The second of our back-to-school series is basic entitlement. Remember last week we discussed per-ANB entitlement, funding to schools based on the number of students enrolled. But there are other formulas for funding our state’s schools.

The basic entitlement is the minimum funding each school district will receive if in operation. I used to think of it as the per-school entitlement – even though that is not quite accurate – because it was recognizing the fixed costs of schools. The basic entitlement for an elementary district, or the elementary program of a K-12 district, without a middle school, is $40,000 for the first 250 ANB, plus $2,000 for each additional 25 ANB over 250. For an elementary district with a middle school (ie., K-6) receives $40,000 for the first 250 ANB, plus $2,000 for each additional 25 ANB over 250. For the junior high is $80,000 for the first 450 ANB, plus $4,000 for each additional 45 ANB over 450. A high school’s basic entitlement is $290,000 for the first 800 ANB, plus $12,000 for each additional 80 ANB over 800.

Since education funding is so complicated, I thought that I would take this opportunity to explain a few of the other funding mechanisms that go into school’s general fund. (Note that the term general fund comes up in many parts of state government but today we are talking about the general fund of schools.)

Quality Educator Payment – Each school district receives $3,042 payment for each full-time equivalent (FTE) licensed educator and for other licensed professionals employed by the school district.

Indian Education for All Payment – Each district receives an Indian Education for All payment to implement the provisions of the Montana constitution (Article X, section 1(2)) and the statutory requirements for the recognition of American Indian cultural heritage.  The Indian Education for All payment is either $100 for each district or $20.40 per ANB (which ever is greater).

American Indian Achievement Gap Payment – A school district receives $200 for each American Indian student reported in the Fall Enrollment Count.  The purpose is to help close the educational achievement gap that exists between American Indian students and non-Indian students.

At-Risk Payment – The legislature appropriated $5,149,426 for FY 2015 to address the needs of at-risk students. The money is distributed to school based on the same proportion as federal Title I (at-risk) monies are distributed.

Data For Achievement – Each district receives $15 per-ANB. Funds received must be used to pay for costs associated with a statewide data system.

So now we have addressed funding for the general fund of schools, but as you may have guessed – there is more. We will get into more nitty gritty in the next two weeks.  If you have additional questions or suggestions for future wonky words, post them to our Facebook page.

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