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Funds Cut Off To Gardiner Schools

February 17, 2014 Greater Yellowstone, State of Montana No Comments
Gardiner School

The Gardiner, Montana school district has found itself approximately $400-thousand shy of funds usually collected from Yellowstone National Park to pay for students from Mammoth, Wyoming attending school in Gardiner.  Gardiner Public School Superintendent  JT Stroder explains that traditionally, 80% of the cost for the 37 students out of the park to attend the Montana school was received in November with the remaining 20% settled up in the summer.  However, the Interior Department has discovered funds from the recreational fee intended to be used to enhance the quality of visitor experiences in the park had been tapped since 1977 for the payments.  A 1948 law pertaining only to Yellowstone permitted this use until the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program evolved.  Now, Stroder says not only has the federal agency forbid Yellowstone from continuing to make the payments, they are seeking restoration of those funds that had been previously spent in this way.  Stroder says the school district is seeking a legislative solution to the problem, from the two states, from Park County, Wyoming or the federal government since Mammoth is not included within a school district.  Meanwhile, he says there is no interruption to those 37 students’ educations.

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