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Contact us via email or call us in-state toll-free between 9:00am and 5:00pm MT at 1.888.231.9393, Local 406.444.3095

Have a Media Inquiry? Contact Emilie Ritter Saunders, Communications Director, 406.444.3160


Questions or concerns about this webpage?
Please contact the OPI Help Desk at or 406.444.0087


About Montana School Finance


 Log Into MAEFAIRS Reporting

  • State Distributions to Schools - administers the distribution of $763 million of state equalization aid including funding for Special Education,school facilities payments, and guaranteed tax base aid (GTB) to Montana school districts
  • Accounting and Financial Reporting - develops accounting policies for Montana's school districts in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Provides guidance to districts for the management of fiscal information through the School Accounting Manual
  • Budgeting - provides technical assistance and monitoring school district compliance with school budget laws
  • Training and Technical Assistance - provides school district personnel, county treasurers, and county superintendents of schools with technical accounting, budgeting and reporting assistance/training
  • Legislative and Federal Fiscal Reporting - compiles and reports school district financial information to the Legislature, Federal government and public
  • Audit Monitoring - monitors and reports school district compliance with the OMB Circular A-133 (the "Single Audit Act") and state auditing requirements
  • Federal Impact Aid Program Liaison - serves as a liaison with the US Department of Education for the Federal Impact Aid Program, which provides approximately $38 M annually to eligible Montana school districts
  • Enrollment - collects school district enrollment data used for state funding and Federal reporting.
  • Tuition - calculates maximum tuition rates for public school districts
  • MAEFAIRS - maintains an electronic financial reporting system for collecting school budgeting, expenditure, revenue and enrollment information
  • Pupil Transportation - provides distribution of state transportation aid and technical assistance in the areas of school bus equipment and operation standards and interpretation of school bus rules, regulations and laws.






Most school districts receiving Federal assistance must have financial and compliance audits on an annual basis. The Federal Uniform Guidance, CFR Part 2, §200 provides for a uniform approach to the audit of all federal aid programs by establishing policies, procedures and guidelines. The audits under the law must be performed using generally accepted government auditing standards by independent auditors using due professional care and accountability.

9-0300.20 FEATURES
Federal audit regulations require that:

  1. School districts that spend $750,000 or more per year in Federal financial assistance must have annual financial and compliance audits unless they perform such examinations on a biennial basis as required under State or local law; they may then continue that schedule.
  2. School districts that spend less than $750,000 of Federal financial assistance per year are not required by Federal regulations to have audits performed under a Federal requirement but are expected to retain accounting records so that Federal auditors can conduct audits if warranted.

Montana’s audit requirements meet the requirements of the Federal Uniform Guidance for audits and cover additional requirements for smaller districts as well. Each district that receives over $500,000 of total revenues (all funds) in a year must have an audit.

  1. A district that receives $500,000 or more of total revenue and spends less than $750,000 of Federal financial assistance must have a “regular” or “Yellowbook” audit.
  2. Districts with less than $500,000 total revenue will have a financial review (not audit) performed by an auditor approximately every four years as requested by OPI and the Department of Administration. [Section 2-7-503, MCA] NOTE-- For those elementary and high school districts that are audited together, the revenues of both districts are combined to apply the criteria to the school system.

NOTE-- For those elementary and high school districts that are audited together, the revenues of both districts are combined to apply the criteria to the school system.


Type of Audit or Review Required: Threshold Contractor Term Comments:


Due June 30

*REVENUES (All Funds)

$500,000 or less

By Contracted Auditor
The OPI or Dept. of Administration will notify district. Contract must be done through the Dept. of Administration as 3rd party
One year at a time with a rotating 4-year schedule. A review of procedures, especially for recording and reporting revenues and expenditures.
(Yellowbook Audit)
Due June 30
*REVENUES (All Funds) More than $500,000 By Contracted Auditor
Dept. of Administration has standard contracts and a roster of authorized Auditors
Usually Annual May be for two years, if approved by Department of Administration.

Federal Audit

(Previously “A-133 Audit”)

Due March 31

$750,000 or more
By Contracted Auditor
Department of Administration has standard contracts and a roster of authorized Auditors.
Annual Regular Audit, plus additional procedures to review and report on federal programs.

To estimate, sum all revenues in all funds except bond proceeds and transfers (Revenue codes 5100, 5300, 9710).

Local Government Services Division of the Montana Department of Administration 406.444.9101 or 9102.
Please call the School Finance staff at 406.444.9852 if you have any questions about audits.  

Student Count for ANB Reports



Budgets and Data Sheets


Preliminary Data Sheets

Budgeting Spreadsheets/Worksheets

2016-17 General Fund Budget Overview and Worksheets

NOTE: The following spreadsheet is protected to avoid accidental loss of formulas; however, no password was applied and you can unprotect it if you wish.

Disclaimer: OPI has tested the attached spreadsheet; however, due to programming changes each year, the spreadsheet may contain errors. Please use with caution and notify us immediately if you find discrepancies. This spreadsheet will be re-posted as corrections of errors are discovered by OPI or district personnel and when FY12 data becomes available.


2015-16 General Fund Budget and Voting Limits

Elementary, High School, or K-12 General Fund Budget Spreadsheets

In-District Special Education Permissive Levy Calculator

Preliminary Budget /TFS Worksheet
Projecting General Fund Reserves Spreadsheet (Right-Click and select the "Save Target As ..." command to save to your computer)
Technology Fund Levy Spreadsheet (Right-Click and select the "Save Target As ..." command to save to your computer)
Transportation Budgeting Spreadsheet (Right-Click and select the "Save Target As ..." command to save to your computer)


School Elections

Montana school elections are conducted in the same manner as general elections (Title 13), with the exception of special provisions in Title 20.  The Office of Public Instruction has the authority to make rules and generate forms to assist districts with the administration of school elections.

The date for annual school elections is the first Tuesday after the first Monday in May.  Districts may also hold special elections in accordance with 20-20-105, MCA.  District elections are conducted by the district clerk, unless the district specifically requests their elections to be conducted by the county election administrator.  This request must be made annually.

School district trustees are elected for a term of three years.  A term may be shorter if a current term has been vacated.  In that case, a trustee is elected to serve the remainder of that term (either 1 or 2 years).
Other issues that may be considered in school elections include: requests for a general fund levy, technology fund levy, building reserve levy, bonds, or district annexation or consolidation.

The forms and instructions included in this section have been specifically adapted for use in Montana school elections.



Montana Association of School Business Officials (MASBO
Denise Williams – Executive Director
208 North Montana Avenue
Helena, MT  59601

MASBO Election Committee

  • Committee Chair: 
    Gwyn Andersen – Clerk/Business Manager, Kalispell Public Schools
    233 First Avenue East
    Kalispell, MT  59901
  • Committee Members:
    Betty Brumwell – Clerk/Business Manager, Dutton/Brady K-12 Public Schools
    101 2nd Street NE
    Dutton, MT  59433
  • Afton Lamoreaux – Clerk/Business Manager, Conrad Public Schools
    215 South Maryland 200
    Conrad, MT  59425

Montana Secretary of State's Office

Alan Miller – Elections Specialist, Secretary of State’s Office
PO Box 202801
Helena, MT  59620


Recent Secretary of State Publications:
Unity 3400 Examination Report

Montana School Boards Association (MTSBA)

Bob Vogel – Director of Governmental Relations
863 Great Northern Blvd
Helena, MT  59601


Entitlement Payments to Schools

Negotiated Rulemaking

The purpose of the negotiated rulemaking process is to resolve controversial issues prior to the commencement of the formal rulemaking process. Negotiated rulemaking is not a substitute for the public notification and participation requirements of the Montana Administrative Procedure Act, and a consensus agreement by a negotiated rulemaking committee may be modified by an agency as a result of the subsequent rulemaking process. Refer to 2-5-102, MCA.

A “negotiated rulemaking committee” is an advisory committee established under 2-5-106, MCA to consider and discuss issues for the purpose of reaching a consensus in the development of a proposed rule. "Consensus" means unanimous concurrence among the interests represented on a negotiated rulemaking committee established unless the committee agrees upon another specified definition.

The OPI has contracted with Ken Morrison of Morrison Consulting to facilitate the negotiated rulemaking process for the distribution of monies in the state school oil and natural gas distribution account. As the facilitator, Ken will preside at the meetings of the committee, impartially aid in the discussions and negotiations among the members of a negotiated rulemaking committee to develop a proposed rule, and manage the keeping of minutes and records. A facilitator does not have decision-making authority. Refer to 2-5-103, MCA.

One of the first actions of the committee is to approve the agency’s choice of a facilitator. If the committee does not approve the OPI's nomination for facilitator, the OPI will need to submit a substitute nomination. If the committee does not approve the substitute nomination of the agency for facilitator, the committee will need to select by consensus a person to serve as facilitator. A person designated to represent the agency in substantive issues may not serve as facilitator or presiding officer for the committee. Refer to 2-5-109, MCA.

If any committee members have concerns about the OPI’s selection of Ken Morrison, please let Madalyn Quinlan know as soon as possible. The agency wants to make sure that the process can move forward smoothly when the group is convened for its first meeting.

A key characteristic of a negotiated rulemaking committee is that it includes a balanced representation of persons who can adequately represent the interests of stakeholders affected by the rule and who are willing to negotiate in good faith to reach a consensus on the proposed rule. Refer to 2-5-104, MCA.

A negotiated rulemaking committee may by consensus expand its membership, either by contacting and recruiting persons whose participation the committee believes is essential to the success of the negotiated rulemaking process or upon reviewing a petition submitted to the committee. Persons who will be significantly affected by a proposed rule and who believe that their interests will not be adequately represented by any person on a negotiated rulemaking committee may petition for or nominate another person for membership on the negotiated rulemaking committee. Refer to 2-5-107, MCA.

Members of a negotiated rulemaking committee are responsible for their own expenses of participation. However, an agency may pay for a committee member's reasonable travel and per diem expenses, expenses to obtain technical assistance, and a reasonable rate of compensation if the committee member certifies a lack of adequate financial resources to participate in the committee and the agency determines that the committee member's participation in the committee is necessary to ensure an adequate representation of the interests of the members. Refer to 2-5-110, MCA.

A negotiated rulemaking committee considers the issues and attempts to reach consensus concerning a proposed rule and any other matter the committee determines is relevant to the proposed rule. The person representing the agency on a negotiated rulemaking committee participates in the deliberations of the committee with the same rights and responsibilities of other members of the committee and is authorized to fully represent the agency in the discussions and negotiations of the committee. Madalyn Quinlan, Chief of Staff, at the Office of Public Instruction will represent the agency. Nancy Hall, Lead Budget Analyst and Chris Watson, Revenue Analyst will represent the Governor’s Office of Budget and Program Planning.

If the negotiated rulemaking committee achieves consensus on a proposed rule, at the conclusion of the negotiations, the committee will transmit a report to the OPI containing the proposed rule. If the negotiated rulemaking committee does not reach consensus on the proposed rule, the committee will provide a report to the State Superintendent specifying areas in which the committee reached consensus and the issues that remain unresolved. The committee may include in the report any other information, recommendations, or materials that the committee considers appropriate. Any member of the committee may include as an addendum to the report additional information, recommendations, or materials. Refer to 2-5-108, MCA.

The First Negotiated Rulemaking Committee Members

  • Tyler Arlint, Superintendent, Lambert Public Schools
  • James Baldwin, Superintendent, Poplar Public Schools
  • Larry Crowder, Superintendent, Culbertson Public Schools
  • Steve Engebretson, Dawson County Superintendent of Schools
  • Daniel Farr, Superintendent, Sidney Public Schools
  • Tony Holecek, Superintendent, Westby Public Schools
  • Luke Kloker, Superintendent, Fairview Public Schools
  • Cara Lokken-Frandsen, Teacher, Sidney Public Schools
  • Terry Quintus, Superintendent, Wibaux Public Schools
  • Renee Rasmussen, Superintendent, Bainville Public Schools
  • Gail Staffanson, Richland County Superintendent of Schools
  • Maureen Simonson, Superintendent, Richey Public Schools
  • Lora Tauck, Business Manager, Ekalaka Public Schools
  • Tim Tharp, Superintendent, Sunburst Public Schools
  • Matthew Torix, Superintendent, Plentywood Public Schools
  • Scott Westlund, Trustee Froid Public Schools
  • Madalyn Quinlan, Chief of Staff, Office of Public Instruction
  • Nancy Hall, Lead Budget Analyst, Office of Governor
  • Chris Watson, Revenue Analyst, Office of the Governor

The second committee includes 15 members representing school districts from around the state:

  • Mike Arnold, Business Manager, Havre Public Schools
  • Keith Campbell, Superintendent, Miles City Public Schools
  • Caitlin Chiller, Teacher, Whitehall Public Schools
  • Bob Connor, Superintendent, Glasgow K-12 Schools
  • Wade Johnson, Superintendent, Cut Bank Public Schools
  • Mike Longbottom, Trustee, Laurel Public Schools
  • Brad Moore, Superintendent, Big Sandy Public Schools
  • Brian Patrick, Business Manager, Great Falls Public Schools
  • Sandy Watts, Big Horn County Superintendent of Schools
  • Krystal Zenter, Trustee, Bridger K-12 Schools
  • Madalyn Quinlan, Chief of Staff, Office of Public Instruction
  • Nancy Hall, Lead Budget Analyst, Office of Governor
  • Chris Watson, Revenue Analyst, Office of the Governor

The Office of Public Instruction is responsible for preparing a statement of economic impact of the proposed rules. The negotiated rulemaking committees will advise the OPI on the content of the economic impact statement.

In accordance with 2-4-405, MCA the statement must include:

a) a description of the classes of persons who will be affected by the proposed rule, including classes that will bear the costs of the proposed rule and classes that will benefit from the proposed rule;

(b) a description of the probable economic impact of the proposed rule upon affected classes of persons, including but not limited to providers of services under contracts with the state and affected small businesses, and quantifying, to the extent practicable, that impact;

(c) the probable costs to the agency and to any other agency of the implementation and enforcement of the proposed rule and any anticipated effect on state revenue; 

(d) an analysis comparing the costs and benefits of the proposed rule to the costs and benefits of inaction;

(e) an analysis that determines whether there are less costly or less intrusive methods for achieving the purpose of the proposed rule;

(f) an analysis of any alternative methods for achieving the purpose of the proposed rule that were seriously considered by the agency and the reasons why they were rejected in favor of the proposed rule;

(g) a determination as to whether the proposed rule represents an efficient allocation of public and private resources; and 

(h) a quantification or description of the data upon which the analysis is based and an explanation of how the data was gathered.

Ken MorrisKen Morrison is the principal consultant with Morrison Consulting and served as the administrator of the Montana Department of Revenue’s Income and Property Tax Divisions. He has extensive experience with rulemaking and has been a member of a negotiated rulemaking committee. His legislative activities have included work on oil and gas taxation and, the last three legislative sessions, education funding and was part of the effort to pass Senate Bill 260 in the 2015 Session. Ken has done facilitation work at both the state and local levels. His current work includes representing corporate, non-profit and government interests in Montana, membership on the State Bar Association’s Fee Arbitration Panel and Chairman of the City of Helena’s Civil Service Board.


What are the Administrative Rules of Montana?

Administrative rules are agency regulations, standards or statements of applicability that implement, interpret, or set law or policy.  An agency may also adopt administrative rules that describe the organization, procedures or practice requirements of the agency.  Agencies are given rulemaking authority through the legislative process. Section 2-4-101, MCA, et seq., provides the statutory authority for administrative agency rule-making and adjudication.

Privacy, Security, Notices - Disclaimer of Endorsement
The documents posted on this site contain hypertext links or pointers to information created and maintained by other public and private organzations. These links and pointers are provided for the user's convenience. The Office of Public Instruction does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of this outside information. Further, the inclusion of links or pointers to particular items in hypertext is not intended to reflect their importance, nor is it intended to endorse any views expressed, or products or services offered, on these outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring the sites.

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