Montana Administrative Register Notice 10-75-101 No. 18   09/22/2023    
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In the matter of the adoption of NEW RULES I through VI pertaining to Montana Indian Language Preservation Grants








TO: All Concerned Persons


            1.  On July 21, 2023, the Superintendent of Public Instruction published MAR Notice No. 10-75-101 pertaining to the public hearing on the proposed adoption of the above-stated rules at page 681 of the 2023 Montana Administrative Register, Issue Number 14.


            2.  The superintendent has adopted the following rules as proposed: NEW RULE I (10.75.101) NEW RULE II (10.75.102), NEW RULE IV (10.75.104), NEW RULE V (10.75.105), and NEW RULE VI (10.75.106).


            3.  The superintendent has adopted the following rule as proposed, but with the following changes from the original proposal, with deleted matter interlined:


            NEW RULE III (10.75.103)  PROGRAM  (1) through (6) remain as proposed.

            (7)  Funds may not be used to pay for any of the following activities or costs:

            (a)  operational or maintenance costs or expenses;

            (b)  financial expenses including, but not limited to, interest expense, bond issuance costs, or any other debt-related costs or expenses;

            (c)  projects receiving funding for the same services, equipment, or goods through any other local, state, or federal grant or other funding program, except as necessary to fully fund the project; and

            (d)  projects involving a casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, swimming pool, or similar programs not directly related to Indian language preservation.

            (8) through (11) remain as proposed but are renumbered (7) through (10).

            (12)  The total administrative fee that may be charged to the grant by the grantee may not exceed 5% of the total grant award for administration of the contract.

            (13)  The total personnel budget (salary and fringe benefits) may not exceed 45% of the total grant award.


            4.  The superintendent has thoroughly considered the comments and testimony received.  A summary of the comments and testimony received and the superintendent's responses are as follows:


COMMENT #1:  A commenter expressed concern that only up to 45% of Montana Indian Language Preservation (MILP) grant funds could go towards the personnel budget and also expressed concern about the administrative costs for the program.  The commenter was concerned about the lack of flexibility this created for tribes.


RESPONSE #1:  The superintendent appreciates the comment.  The superintendent agrees with the desire to maximize flexibility related to the spending of these funds.  The superintendent agrees to strike New Rule III(12) and (13).


COMMENT #2:  A commenter expressed concern about the possibility of inclusion of tribal colleges for work done under MILP.


RESPONSE #2:  The superintendent appreciates the comment.  The Office of Public Instruction (OPI) understands the comment is in reference to NEW RULE IV(2)(e).  In the pursuit of recognizing tribal sovereignty and allowing tribes to leverage their assets, the superintendent supports tribal governments having the option to work with their tribal colleges, language and culture departments, or other committees that are engaged in language and culture work and are endorsed by their tribal governments.  OPI consulted with tribes regarding the inclusion of tribal colleges during a July 6, 2023, tribal consultation meeting and during ongoing meetings with tribal leaders.


COMMENT #3:  A commenter expressed concern about non-tribal schools not being eligible for funding, even when they have Indian language teachers.


RESPONSE #3:  The superintendent appreciates the comment.  OPI understands this comment is in reference to New Rule III(1).  HB 287 specifically required that funds be distributed to tribal governments, which may partner with school districts at the tribal government's discretion.


COMMENT #4:  A commenter was concerned with the proposed rule specifically identifying golf courses and other similar programs as examples of ineligible uses of funds, which were not specifically mentioned in HB 287.


RESPONSE #4:  The superintendent appreciates the comment.  The superintendent believes eligible uses of funds must be included in the rule, and they are included in New Rule III(8).  In light of the specifically identified eligible uses, there is no need to specifically identify ineligible uses.  As a result, the superintendent agrees to strike New Rule III(7).


COMMENT #5:  A commenter was concerned about how tribes, schools, and students create fluency opportunities and language acquisition opportunities, and within what timeframe these opportunities will be created.


RESPONSE #5:  The superintendent appreciates the comment.  OPI has engaged in multiple discussions with tribal communities regarding teaching opportunities for Indian languages.  The superintendent agrees that where an established partnership exists between tribes and school districts, educators who serve as language and culture specialists for the schools must adhere to the guidelines established by the tribes they partner with for the languages they teach.


COMMENT #6:  A commenter was concerned with the low number of tribes represented at the public hearing on the proposed rules.


RESPONSE #6:  The superintendent appreciates the comment as transparency and public participation are priorities for her administration.  Prior to the public hearing, OPI consulted with tribes as required by HB 287.  Further consultation remains ongoing between OPI and tribes after the public hearing.  Specific information about the public hearing and the public comment period was shared with tribal leaders, and OPI received written public comment from numerous individuals interested in the Indian language preservation programs.


COMMENT #7:  Multiple commenters expressed support for the proposed changes.


RESPONSE #7:  OPI appreciates the comments and the support.



/s/ Robert Stutz        ______                       /s/ Elsie Arntzen                   _______

Robert Stutz                                                Elsie Arntzen

Rule Reviewer                                             Superintendent of Public Instruction

                                                                    Office of Public Instruction



            Certified to the Secretary of State September 12, 2023.


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