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Montana Senate backs big school funding bill

By Associated Press
Published On: Feb 22 2013 04:30:08 PM MST
SCHOOL BUS
HELENA, Mont. -

The state Senate is endorsing a revamp of education funding that both increases school money and cuts property taxes.
    
Senate Bill 175 relies on an influx of natural-resource development income as it provides revenue sought by school officials. It also provides some relief for the homeowners who now foot most of the bill.
    
Sen. Llew Jones of Conrad spent two years drafting the measure with the help of school officials. He drew a broad coalition of support Friday.
    
The Republican successfully beat back opposition from his own party's conservative leaders, who argued it spent too much.
    
It would increase school funding about $100 million over the next two years and reduce property taxes about $50 million.
    
Jones says the measure also makes funding more equitable across the state.