February 8, 2001
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
Seeley Lake, Montana
Missoula Electric Cooperative, Inc.
Provides Additional Funding For Students and Schools
Missoula Electric Cooperative now sponsors three programs dedicated to providing educational funds for Cooperative Member students and to schools with attendees residing in the Cooperative's service territory.
The Cooperative is excited about its most recent program, Improvements for Education. Established in September 2000, the program's purpose is to provide schools with funding for worthy educational projects. Those schools receiving contributions are either located in the Cooperative's service territory, or have students attending them who live in Cooperative Member households. Funds available for schools this year amounts to $35,000. So far, schools have been awarded funds to purchase such items as literacy libraries, science workshops, video instruction sets, software, accelerated reader program, lab microscopes, computers, and school uniforms. This program has been received by local educators with enthusiasm. As school funding becomes tighter, these great projects would be unavailable to students without additional resources.
The Cooperative's Scholarship Program is in its fourth year. Through this year, $110,000 has been awarded for scholarships for Cooperative Members, or their dependents, who attend accredited Montana educational institutions. Each $1,000 scholarship may be used for tuition, books, or required equipment, such as uniforms. The number of applicants has increased each year as more students learn of the availability of the scholarships. This year's scholarship recipients will be announced at the Missoula Electric Cooperative Annual Meeting, to be held at Valley Christian School on Saturday, March 17, 2001.
A luncheon was held on January 24, 2001, at the Grant Creek Inn, to present electronic equipment to schools. More than 95 students and educators attended the luncheon to pick up their equipment. The Triple E Program was established in 1990 by Missoula Electric Cooperative, with Blackfoot Telephone Cooperative agreeing to participate in the program for the purpose of providing electronic educational equipment for schools in the Cooperatives' service territories. Blackfoot CFT joined the program in 1995, which increased the number of eligible schools and dollars available for the purchase of electronic equipment. A total of $150,000 has been contributed through 2000 to provide equipment for the forty seven schools in the joint territories of the participating organizations. The program participants have agreed to increase their contributions to a total of $18,000 per year beginning in 2001. Electronic educational equipment purchased for schools includes computers, software, video cameras, digital cameras, TVs, and a variety of other electronic educational equipment.
The funds provided by Missoula Electric Cooperative for these programs are derived from unclaimed capital credits. Capital credits are funds returned to Cooperative Members, as owners of the utility. Capital credits unclaimed after five years must be used for education or escheated to the state general fund. The Board of Trustees of Missoula Electric Cooperative has determined that the most appropriate manner of utilizing these funds is to benefit students and schools that educate students from the Cooperative's service territory.