HELENA, Mont. -

The U.S. government is seeking the return of $7 million paid to three Montana school districts near Yellowstone National Park over the last 37 years.
    
Gardiner School Districts 4 and 7 and Gallatin School District 69 in West Yellowstone have received the special payments from the park since 1948. The program helped fund districts that serve the children of park employees who live on untaxed federal land.
    
U.S. Department of Interior officials say those payments should have stopped in 1976, when Congress passed new legislation, but they kept going.
    
Interior officials only recently learned of the overpayments. Spokeswoman Jessica Kershaw said Tuesday the department is legally obligated to recover the money.
    
Montana's congressional delegation is seeking a waiver, saying the schools will be hard-pressed to repay the millions owed.