Montana Public Radio

Education

Noah, a fifth grader in West Valley School District, works with his grandmother Sherry Kirksey on math at the kitchen table as school doors remain closed during the coronavirus pandemic.
Courtesy Kelly Fisk

As Montana schools begin to provide education remotely in order to reduce the spread of coronavirus, parents will be serving as their child’s co-teacher at home. For many, that’s a large undertaking, but it’s even more of a challenge for parents of students with special needs.

Missoula's Hellgate High School
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

The Montana Office of Public Instruction is asking Gov. Steve Bullock and the federal government to waive requirements for standardized testing and instructional time. The request comes days into the governor’s two-week public school closure order in response to the novel coronavirus.

The front entrance of Stevensville High School, which was built in 1958 and has had no renovations since the 1970s.
Stevensville Public Schools

Even as Montana's public K-12 schools sit closed over coronavirus concerns, work on the school system continues. Newly released data from the state of Montana provides a picture of just how much it costs to educate the state's students.

Released this week, the state's "report card" shows it cost an average of $10,474.64 to educate each student in the public school system last year. The actual cost varies depending on districts or schools.

School hallway. Stock photo.
iStock

Following Montana Gov. Steve Bullock's order Sunday to close public schools for two weeks due to detections of the novel coronavirus, districts around the state scrambled on Monday to set plans in place for remote learning and feeding students. Yellowstone Public Radio News Director Nicky Ouellet talks with MTPR's Aaron Bolton about how schools are responding to these detections.

School classroom
iStock

Montana Governor Steve Bullock has ordered all public K-12 schools in the state to close for two weeks following additional in-state cases of the novel coronavirus. About half a dozen patients have tested presumptively positive for the illness.

In a press release Sunday afternoon, Bullock said the step was taken to slow the spread of the virus and that the task force he assembled earlier this month would continue meeting to determine next steps.

School hallway. Stock photo.
iStock

The U.S. Department of Education has agreed to delay a new rule that could pull significant funding from rural and low-income schools in Montana. The delay follows objections this week from Montana’s U.S. Senators and other high ranking members of Congress.

No suspicious devices were found in a search of Great Falls public schools after a handwritten note including a bomb threat was found at an elementary school Monday.

 

As the largest school district in Montana faces an over $4 million budget deficit, some are asking how the budget became so unbalanced. School administrators say the proposed cuts to staff and operations likely won't fully fix the problem.

 

The largest school district in Montana plans to cut 40 full time positions to make up for an over $4 million budget deficit.

A Montana case before the U.S. Supreme Court could have far-reaching implications for public education funding and the debate over the separation of church and state. Two candidates in the U.S. House race — one Democrat and one Republican — are running away from the pack in fundraising. A controversial tribal water compact could become an issue in the governor's race. And the three Republican candidates for governor square off in their first debate. Listen now on Campaign Beat.

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