Montana Public Radio

Tweet Highlights Rift Between Governor And Office Of Public Instruction

Jul 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.

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

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.”