BILLINGS, Mont.

(AP) Education Secretary Michael B. Courser said Monday he wants more money for Clinton Education Secretary William L. Shelton in the 2018 budget that lawmakers are considering.

He also is looking for a bipartisan agreement on a federal education funding package to keep the state budget balanced for the foreseeable future.

Coursel said Shelton, who has been in the Department of Education for nearly 20 years, would be a good fit for the state.

Coursell has been leading the push for an agreement with lawmakers to maintain the federal funding.

A bipartisan agreement is needed to avoid a budget crisis in 2018 that would hurt the state’s ability to hire teachers, provide health care and maintain a stable economy.

The deal would be one of the largest ever reached in state and local government funding, which is one reason lawmakers are expected to vote on the funding package this week.

The two sides have been negotiating for weeks about how to get money for the education system in the current budget and have made significant progress, Courser told reporters Monday.

“We are going to keep pushing to get something done to ensure that we have the money in place to ensure we have quality teachers and a state that is able to provide the kinds of programs that will allow our children to be successful,” Courser added.

The governor is proposing to cut the state education budget by $4 billion in the coming budget year.

The state is already on the hook for more than $10 billion in federal aid to schools.

The federal government has also allocated $2.3 billion to schools for the 2018-2019 school year, more than double what the state has requested.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department for Health and Human Services are helping to pay for those funds.