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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Tweet Highlights Rift Between Governor And Office Of Public Instruction

Screenshot of a tweet from Superintendent of Public Schools Elsie Arntzen, captured July 16, 2020.

Montana Office of Public Instruction Superintendent Elsie Arntzen says Gov. Steve Bullock has not included her office in discussions about the state’s coronavirus response involving education.

Hours after Gov. Bullock announced an update on relief dollars for K-12 schools, Superintendent Arntzen, who is running for reelection, criticized the governor in a tweet.

Arntzen said Bullock’s “… lack of communication and coordination is a disservice to the safety and wellbeing of Montana’s students, families, and educators ...”

Arntzen did say she appreciated Bullock’s Wednesday announcement that $75 million of the state’s federal relief funding will be directed to school districts to help cover COVID-19 expenditures.

The governor's office and OPI butted heads earlier this month when, on the same day, both offices released separate but similar guides for how schools could reopen this fall.

In an emailed statement, Bullock’s spokesperson Erin Loranger said that OPI was made aware of Bullock’s decision prior to it being publicly announced. She also wrote “We are confused why the Superintendent of Public Instruction is upset about $75 million being directed to schools.”

Aaron graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.
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