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Bill Covers Montana School Inflation Costs

by Tim Hart

A 54 million dollar bill to cover the costs of inflation for Montana public schools passed through the legislature this past week. The bill keeps the funding for Montana public schools at the same level as previous years, by adjusting for inflation. The state will increase education funds by 2.3% and 1.8% over the next two years.

By passing the bill, the legislature has relieved many school officials from the stress of budgeting their next school year without knowing exactly how much funds they will receive.

For Bozeman Public Schools specifically, school officials have worked hard to achieve additional funding through grants and other programs, including their recent 3.3 million dollar award to fund new mental health programs in schools and their 1.3 million grant to improve student performance in mathematics. However, these people still need help from the state to maintain these programs and maintain the quality of their education overall.

As Bozeman has expanded, the local schools have hit new enrollment records, making it even more important to maintain funding and stay up with inflating costs. If the Bozeman School District wants to expand one of its middle schools and bring in new public preschool programs, proper funding will be a necessity.

Bozeman’s hard work to receive and deserve the funding from the Montana Legislature, along with its efforts to achieve additional grants has helped contribute to a 4% graduation rate improvement, the highest ACT scores in the state, and some of the highest AP exam scores in the nation.

Of course, all local, public schools in the area will see the benefits of the bill's passing. Gallatin County schools still remain top class institutions and will continue attracting new families to the area.

 

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/education/montana-school-inflation-bill-passes-in-record-time/article_5a440b5c-3cad-5169-8cd5-1aa887ac153f.html

 

Graduation Rates Hit New Highs in Montana

by Tim Hart

Graduation rates for high schools in MT rose to their highest level since 2000, with Gallatin County’s five High Schools included. For the state of Montana, graduation rates rose to 85.4 percent. Four years ago, the total was at 80.7 percent.

Of Gallatin County’s five public high schools, West Yellowstone came in 1st at 92.3 percent. Manhattan High came in at 90 percent, Bozeman High with 88.1 percent, Belgrade High with 86.8 percent, and Three Forks High with 84.2 percent. Of Montana’s 14 AA high schools, Bozeman ranked third, behind Missoula Sentinal and Helena Capital.

Montana’s drop out rate also improved over a four-year period, from 5% to 3.7 percent.

Bozeman High School’s graduation rate (88.1 percent) jumped by more than 4% from 4 years ago. School officials gave credit to teachers, students and parents for the improvement, but also noted their hard efforts with their new programs and availability of online courses.

The school’s drop out rate fell from 3.3% to 2.9 percent. Economically disadvantaged students who make up around 20% of Bozeman High’s student body saw their graduation rate rise from 66.7 percent 4 years ago, to 75.8% currently. School leaders recognized those numbers can still improve, but hope that their new pilot, public preschool program can help shorten the gap.

High schools in Gallatin County continue to improve their high standards. Their hard work and commitment to excellence have led to many homebuyers specifically seeking out these schools for their children.

 

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/education/graduation-rates-hit-new-highs-for-montana-and-bozeman/article_e0844740-9c3b-11e4-8de7-2fe72eb9b268.html

Longfellow Upgrades Nearly Complete for New School Year

by Tim Hart

Students at Longfellow Elementary in Bozeman will notice some changes to their school when they return to classes next week. This summer, Longfellow received 3.2 million dollars to renovate and update their school. The school focused on improving its energy efficiency, updating the building to modern codes and bringing healthier, fresher air to students. Changes include removing the old windows that had been there since the school’s founding in 1939. Now, the school has new, energy efficient classroom windows that will moderate temperatures in the school much better. The school has also added new air heating and ventilation in the hopes of creating a healthier environment, with fresher air for the students. A new elevator was also added to the school and will be ready at the beginning of September. Parents in the area can look forward to a healthier and more efficient school for their children this year. Anybody who would like to see the school and its new updates can visit Longfellow Thursday the 27th, at 3:30 pm.

Bozeman High School Get Highest ACT Scores in State

by Tim Hart

Bozeman High School received the highest average score for Montana’s high schools, scoring a 23.0 Composite score. Based against Montana’s 14 other AA ranked high schools, BHS also improved its own score from 2013 to 2014. Last year, Bozeman High School scored an average of a 22.5 on the ACT. Funny enough, Bozeman’s score last year still would have been high enough to take top honors again this year. The next highest school was Missoula Hellgate, who scored a 22.1 this year.

Bozeman High School may be able to hang its hat on its new test prep system. Before, the ACT had to be paid for and taken outside of school. However, starting last year, Bozeman began administering the exam to Juniors in high school and are given a full school day to take the test. Students who may have chosen not to take the test due cost, time, or interest, now do not have to worry and can at least make the attempt at going on to higher education. Any parent moving to Montana would want to consider the fact that BHS has made higher education accessible to all Bozeman students.

Not to mention… other Gallatin County Schools scored great too!

Three Forks 22.2

Manhattan 22.0

Belgrade 21.4

Willow Creek 20.4

 

Congrats to our next generation of college students!

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4

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