Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Educators, lawmakers sign letter supporting Montana schools superintendent

Lockers in an empty school hallway.

A group of Republican state lawmakers, school board trustees and citizens have signed a letter in support of Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen. It follows a separate letter signed by the superintendents representing Montana’s eight AA school districts, which expressed disappointment in Arntzen’s leadership.

Missoula school trustee Mike Gehl describes the superintendents’ letter of no confidence in Elsie Arntzen as both “unfair” and “politically driven.”

“It was a move to lambaste her as the election cycles [are] heating up and to denigrate the office, to bring her out in a negative light,” he says.

Gehl and Kalispell-area school trustee Jim Riley say many Montanans appreciate Arntzen’s efforts to bolster parental rights.

This weekend they wrote what they call a “Vote of Confidence” letter in support of Arntzen’s leadership and say it generated well over 500 signatures of support, including over 20 state Republican lawmakers.

Arntzen’s office issued a statement Tuesday saying she “humbly appreciates the confidence of all those that signed this letter or reached out to me.”

The superintendents representing Montana’s AA school districts say Arntzen’s leadership has led to widespread, unresolved turnover in the state education agency.

Arntzen’s critics also accuse her of inappropriately advocating for partisan policies that undermine local school authority.

O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the University of Montana School of Journalism. His first career job out of school was covering the 1995 Montana Legislature. When the session wrapped up, O’Brien was fortunate enough to land a full-time position at the station as a general assignment reporter. Feel free to drop him a line at
Become a sustaining member for as low as $5/month
Make an annual or one-time donation to support MTPR
Pay an existing pledge or update your payment information

Call 800-325-1565 or 406-243-6400

Related Content