Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The Montana Legislature has provided a way for Montana taxpayers to direct their state income tax dollars directly to benefit their local public schools.

KGVO News spoke with Pat McHugh, Missoula County Public Schools Executive Director of Business and Operations about what is called the Innovative Educational Programs Tax Credit.

Montana Taxpayers can Direct Some of their Tax Dollars Directly to Public Schools

“Basically what it allows taxpayers to do, and this includes businesses, individuals, states, in fact, any entity that pays taxes to the state of Montana, could take advantage of a tax credit by making a donation to a public school district,” began McHugh.

McHugh provided more details on the program that directly benefits public schools.

There is a limit of a $200,000 Donation per Taxpayer

“It's a dollar-for-dollar tax credit up to $200,000 per taxpayer,” he said. “As I mentioned, it's a dollar-for-dollar deal, so the true benefit here is that instead of writing a check to the State of Montana to cover taxes, you make a donation to the public school district of your choice of those that are listed on the Department of Revenue website. Then, when you file your taxes, it's a credit; so it's a direct offset against your taxes, dollar for dollar.”

McHugh explained where the donated tax funds would go to benefit public schools.

“It's for extra and special learning opportunities for students in what we would call transformational learning,” he said. “It's also for programs, services, and equipment that support students with disabilities, work-based learning partnerships for students, post-secondary credits for career certifications for students, technologies and to improve student experiences very much directed at extra and focused student learning opportunities.”

School Districts Compete for the Funds Much Like Grizzly Playoff Tickets

According to the MCPS website, there is a $5 million cap on the funds that can be donated to schools, and according to the MCPS Communications Office, ‘individuals or corporations reach out to MCPS and let us know that they'd like to make a donation. We keep a record of that, and then on the day that the statewide donation portal opens, all the school districts statewide will begin entering in those donated amounts. If the cap of $5 million is reached, we stop, and anybody whose donation was not processed or accepted would be notified that they have the option of having their donation refunded.

Get more details here on the Innovative Educational Programs Tax Credit.

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