Government Spending On Education

By Tim Ravndal

Many families across Montana are found in despair due to the plandemic. Moms and Dads are now finding a new problem understanding the latest lock down process in public schools. Funding that is driving restrictions within public education is front and center across Montana. The ESSER programs under the American Recovery Act are holding school districts at bay to receive federal funding.

Debbie Westlake has been interested in the financial side of public education here in Montana. The 2020-2021 fiscal year, where figures have been officially entered, is available for the taxpayers to review.

Debbie Westlake
Debbie Westlake

Debbie spent hours looking over 7,000 entries of payments made to “schools” from the accounts payable section of

This painstaking analysis performed by Debbie gives the people of Montana a better look at reality in public education. The question is begged; how much of that funding is actually going towards teaching children here in Montana?

“Follow The Rabbit Trail”

Debbie’s work in looking into this reveals a trail of money that perhaps challenges even the best accountants in the country looking for accountability. Looking at the checkbook Debbie noticed that funding directed to the Commissioner of Higher Education is currently bouncing around $1,663,862.17. If the office of Commissioner of Higher Education receives this level of funding, are the schools left to fight over the scraps to teach children?

In following the “Rabbit Trail” further, Debbie reviewed the allocations for funds going to different schools across Montana from multiple different agencies. It is needed to point out that in July 2021 alone, to close the fiscal year spending, a total of…$2,864,661.57 was spent in public education alone here in Montana.

Debbie compiled these figures that range from funds originating with the Dept. of Justice, Dept. of Labor & Industry, Dept. of Higher Education, Dept. of Commerce and others.

A huge amount of funding originates with Dept of Public Health and Human Services(DPHHS). In one example, the Stevensville School District received $12,315.99 from DPHHS. In another example, DPHHS provided Glendive Public Schools $5228.35 in July alone. The question is begged: What did this buy for the taxpayers with children in school?

While it is unknown looking at these balances, DPHHS has received a cut in their budget under the Gianforte administration that may change these allocations in the future.

A few areas that cause good accountants to scratch their collective heads are spotlighted through Debbie’s research. Here are some of those July 2021 totals going directly to education:

Montana Department of Administration$13,610,746.32
Dept of Agriculture….$177,642.41
Dept of Commerce$4,523,287,27
Dept of Environmental Quality$319,017.66
Dept of Fish, Wildlife & Parks$58,636.41
Dept. of Justice$79,383.10
Department of Labor & Industry$175,365.47
Office of Public Instruction$36,176,630.78
Teacher’s Retirement Board$139,687.27
Montana Arts Council$24,655.00
Funding allocated in July 2021

Let’s Go Fishing

The education funding going to home schooling appears to be in the neighborhood of $15,000.00 while around $30,000.00 was given to the Yellowstone Fly Fishing school.

The funding allocated for pre-school and daycare facilities is not listed here but there is an increasing call for funding in these areas of education each year.

The state of Montana, in closing the books for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, spent $88,166,128.26 in funding education here in Montana. The checkbook where this is recorded for those that wish to look at the rest of the budget is available at

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