Corin Cates-Carney

Corin Cates-Carney is the Flathead Valley reporter for MTPR.

Corin has worked for NPR, and is a UM Journalism School Graduate.

More than $97 million in state budget reductions are scheduled to kick in August 15, and, across the state,, school districts are preparing to adapt to their share of the cut.

Funding for public education in Montana will decrease by about $19 million over the next two years as declines in state revenues mean across-the-board budget reductions to state agencies.

8/12   9 p.m.

Trout Creek Road from Magone Ranch (near Pellet Mill) southwest through the fire area is in Stage 3 evacuation, meaning residents need to leave their homes, as of 7 a.m. Saturday. Quartz Creek, Cougar Gulch, and Verde Creek are also in Stage 3 evacuation. 

County election officials criticized Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton Thursday morning for his repeated allegations of voter fraud, and for poor communication with them since taking office. County officials aired their grievances during a speech by Stapleton at a training session at the Montana Clerk and Recorder Convention in Fairmont.

The Secretary of State and county election officials have butted heads ever since Stapleton took office.

Montana’s budget to entice tourists to the state is about to take a multimillion dollar hit. Next week, budget reductions triggered by lower than expected state revenue will make Montana less competitive, officials say.

Last year, tourists spent about $3.5 billion in Montana, according to the University of Montana’s Institute for Tourism and Recreation.

The money set aside to fight wildfires in Montana is rapidly dwindling as portions of the state are in extreme drought conditions. But John Tubbs, Director of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, says there’s more money available to keep up the firefighting efforts, in other pockets of state government.

“We don’t run out,” Tubbs says.

Montana’s Office of Public Instruction is unsure if its new draft plan to raise student achievement will comply with federal law.

State education leaders are required to submit a plan to the U.S. Department of Education in September, as part of the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, which is the federal replacement for No Child Left Behind. 

As of 8 p.m. Friday, July 21, evacuations have been ordered for residents in the entire area north of Highway 200 from the Petroleum County Line and West of Edwards Road, due to the threat from the Lodgepole Complex fires. 

The evacuation area includes: Big Bart Coulee, Haley Coulee, Benzien School Area, Benzien Road all the way to Steve Forks Road, and Battle Coulee Area.

The Red Cross has set up an evacuation shelter at the VFW Hall in Jordan. 

Montana’s K-through-12 schools could face millions of dollars in cuts next month if state revenues don’t improve. The state Office of Public Instruction warned education groups and teachers’ unions about the possible hit to the agency’s budget during a meeting Thursday afternoon.

Governor Steve Bullock formally signed a slate of bills today aiming to address the state’s problem of overcrowded prisons.

As the nation faces an epidemic of opioid drug abuse after a decade of aggressively prescribing narcotics , Montana doctors are becoming more cautious about giving painkillers to chronic pain patients.

It’s changing some patients ability to get treatment and what is considered compassionate care for chronic pain.

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