Unfortunately, OPI will not be issuing the facilities reimbursement payment on May 19th, 2017. Initially, OPI had estimated revenues of $4 million for the school facility reimbursement payment scheduled to be paid May 19th, 2017. This payment is contingent upon two items; 1. the available appropriation and 2. the revenue to fund the appropriation. The revenue used to fund this payment is derived from riverbed rent leases and timber sales. The majority of timber sales do not happen until the end of the fiscal year. The riverbed rent lease payment (estimated at $4 million) for this fiscal year has been placed in escrow pending litigation between the state and the leasing companies. Therefore, at this time there is no revenue available to fund the estimated $4 million school facilities reimbursement payment in May. In addition, the legislature has approved HB 648 which removes the FY 2017 appropriation from the OPI budget for this payment. HB 648 is anticipated to be signed by the Governor.
If there are any changes before the May 19th payment, I will make sure you are notified. The list of affected schools can be found at http://opi.mt.gov/pdf/SchoolFinance/Entitle/FY17DebtServiceSummaryPRELIM.pdf.
If you are an affected school and needed this fund to pay your debt service, please contact your county treasurer to determine the best route to fund this. In addition, the revenue needed for the FY 2018 is likely to be held in escrow pending litigation as well. The future revenue of this fund is unknown. Please plan accordingly in FY 2018.
I wish we had better news to share.
Please contact me directly if you have any further questions.
Thanks for all your hard work.
School Finance Administrator, Montana Office of Public Instruction