Montanans not so lucky with Republican budget slashes

Republican House leaders are leaving Montana’s seniors, children and families feeling less than lucky this St. Patrick’s Day after recklessly slashing and approving a whittled down state budget that won’t work for hard-working Montanans.

During Thursday’s floor debates, Democratic representatives brought 26 amendments to the floor to try and fix some of the mess Republicans had made of the budget. Ultimately, though, they all failed along party lines.

The result? An appropriation bill riddled with shortcomings for the critical services that Montanans depend on. Here are a few that cut the deepest:

“House Republicans are failing Montana’s hard-working families,” said Nancy Keenan, executive director of the Montana Democratic Party. “This is not fiscal responsibility. These reckless cuts are going to have real impacts on all Montanans for years to come. We can do better than this.”

Governor, First Lady Bullock Highlight Scorecard Ranking Montana in Top Ten for School Breakfast Participation

On March 3, Governor Steve Bullock and First Lady Lisa Bullock highlighted a scorecard ranking Montana among the top ten states for school breakfast participation. Through their Breakfast after the Bell initiative, Governor and First Lady Bullock provide privately funded grants to schools across Montana to increase school breakfast participation.

We know that when kids have a healthy meal to start their day, they perform better in school,” said Governor Bullock. “More students in Montana now have access to the meals they need to grow and learn – and as a result, we’ve seen improved student behavior, fewer disciplinary referrals, and better test scores.

Highlights from the report include:

  • Montana ranks in the top ten for percentage growth in free and reduced-price breakfast participation from school year 2014-2015 to school year 2015-2016.
  • Montana ranks in the top ten for Community Eligibility Provision growth, which gives high-poverty schools and school districts significant federal savings for offering breakfast and lunch free of charge to students.

First Lady Bullock today visited Rossiter Elementary School’s new breakfast program that serves around 160 students per day with a “Grab N’ Go” model. This newly launched program gives students the opportunity to select breakfast items to eat in the classroom at the start of the school day.

Schools in Montana are committed to their students’ success and recognize that serving breakfast gives kids the energy they need to focus in the classroom,” said First Lady Bullock. “We are taking steps in the right direction to increase breakfast participation, and ultimately, put an end to childhood hunger in Montana.

In fall of 2014, Governor and First Lady Bullock launched the Breakfast after the Bell initiative to encourage schools to implement new breakfast programs or convert existing programs to alternative breakfast models that are proven to increase student participation.

Through the Breakfast after the Bell initiative:

  • Governor and First Lady Bullock, in partnership with Montana No Kid Hungry, have awarded $235,000 to Montana schools through private partnerships.
  • There are now 139 schools across Montana that have made breakfast part of the school day.
  • There are now more than 1,014,133 more breakfast meals served to Montana students each year.
  • The number of breakfast meals served increased by 7% in the 2014-2015 school year and by 11.4% in the 2015-2016 school year.