We have made incredible progress this legislative session on charter schools, and now the Governor has a choice between two bills. One bill is transformational, and the other is simply the status quo.
Montana spends approximately $14,000 per student on K-12 education. Yet, despite this, Montana consistently ranks in the bottom half of the U.S. in Education.
HB 562 empowers parents to recognize the needs of their children and then work with their friends and neighbors to form a charter school under the authority of a state commission.
This bill modernizes the MT educational system by offering actual charter schools. It gives Montana families that cannot afford private options a tuition-free public option of a mission-driven choice school.
It is important to note that this bill will only provide partial public funding to charter schools, with the school being required to fundraise the rest. As a result, it rewards entrepreneurial educators and families with maximum freedom while maintaining oversight. Most importantly, it trusts the families of Montana students to know what is best for their children.
On the other hand, you have HB 549, which only allows for the creation of a charter school if the school board in that district approves it. This bill will not significantly alter current public educational offerings but will almost double the size of the Board of Public Education staff, thus driving up costs.
The language in HB 549 is almost identical to what already exists in MT administrative rules: keeping any charter completely controlled by the school boards. We already know this does not lead to innovation in public schools and costs too much.
We need your help to tell Governor Gianforte to support HB 562, which will significantly expand educational opportunities for Montana families, and veto HB 549. HB 562 is parent-led, and HB 549 is a continuation of the government-led status quo approach to education.