HELENA — A kindergarten class at Smith Elementary School welcomed Governor Greg Gianforte on Thursday, March 2, 2023, where he signed into law House Bill 15, funding K-12 public schools.
House Bill 15 adds inflationary increases to k-12 base funding of 2.7% in the fiscal year 2024, and 3% in the fiscal year 2025, at a cost of an $85.6 million for the 2025 biennium.
The increase brings record funding and record investment in public education in Montana, according to legislators.
"Our students loved having the governor come in. It was a lot of fun," said Smith Elementary School principal Sarah Simpson.
But the bill signing brought more than increased school funding to the classroom on Thursday.
When the signing was complete the governor read to the kindergartners.
"They were excited to listen to the story, to hear about the bill that was being signed. So there was a lot of excitement around it," said Simpson.
It was also an opportunity for the students to see how the work done at the Capitol during the legislative session can impact them.
"One of our older students found out that the governor was coming," said Simpson, "and he mentioned, 'Oh, is he going to sign some bills into law?' So really connecting with what the governor and does for our schools."
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