What New Education Options Will Be Available To Montanans?
"Montana’s 2023 Legislative Session delivered unprecedented education options, the likes of which our state has never seen before."
After years of watching from the sidelines as families in other states gain more and more education options, Montanans will no longer be left in the dust. I am proud to say that Montana’s 2023 Legislative Session delivered unprecedented education options, the likes of which our state has never seen before!
So now that the 2023 Session is over, what kind of new education options can you expect?
✅ Charter Schools
Both charter school bills were passed by the Legislature, and are headed to Governor Gianforte’s desk, where he will be able to choose whichever proposal maximizes choice and unleashes permissionless innovation.
After being signed into law, parents across Montana will be able to send their child to independently operated public schools which will allow for more flexibility to work with parents to build a learning environment and curriculum that fits the unique needs of their students.
Take for example Lauren Wright, who will finally be able to work with others to open a Charter school that specifically focuses on kids with dyslexia – helping her son and others like him, get the learning resources needed to develop to their full potential. But this isn’t the only option, Montanans across the state will now have the opportunity to create their own charter school catering to the needs of the specific students they serve.
✅ Education Savings Accounts
A core issue with today’s education system is that we fund systems, not students. The result is a deep bureaucratic bulwark that is slow to adjust to the specific needs of students.
HB 393 begins to address that fundamental flaw by allowing parents with a child with a disability to direct a portion of their funds to pay for a variety of educational options. This represents an important milestone in beginning to fund students, not systems.
✅ Out-Of-District Open Enrollment
Prior to the passage of HB 203, parents seeking to enroll their child in an out-of-district school faced a litany of barriers. Once signed into law, HB 203 will allow Montana parents to more easily transfer their child to a different public school which fits their needs, whether it be in their district or outside.
✅ Student Scholarship Organization Tax Credits
It’s no question that individuals and businesses want to help increase funding for Montana students. HB 408 expands those opportunities by increasing the cap on the Student Scholarship Organization and Innovative Education Tax Credits. Now, even more students and schools will be able to take advantage of these funding and scholarship opportunities.
Montana may have lagged behind for far too long, but we’re well on our way to being a national leader in Education Freedom.
See You On May 17th
How do we accommodate a growing population while conserving Montanans’ way of life? Join Young Voices, the Property and Environment Research Center, and the Frontier Institute In Bozeman on May 17th for a roundtable about the best ways to plan for Montana’s future.
I Guess Everything Happens Within Montana… If You Really Want It To
Last week, the Legislature passed HB 971 to bar the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) from considering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in its environmental review of major projects. This swift action was in response to Yellowstone County District Judge Moses’ ruling that halted the construction of NorthWestern Energy’s power plant in Laurel.
In my most recent column, I discuss Judge Moses’ claims that as part of the DEQ’s environmental review, the Department is supposed to review the impact of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) on the climate – despite there being no explicit statutory or regulatory requirement for this. The Judge claims that even though an environmental review cannot look “beyond Montana’s borders” per MEPA statute, the “plain language” of the statute is so obvious that the plaintiffs win without ever having to go to trial.
I disagree, I would say that GHG emissions are unambiguously global in nature. In my column I discuss why I disagree with the ruling, as well as context that will help you understand the ruling. Click here to see the full column.
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