MTPR

Education

Montana remains among only a few states in the country without publicly funded pre-K.
iStock

A state-funded preschool program is on a fast track in the state Legislature. The policy introduced today is starting to reveal a rare clash between the state’s largest union and Gov. Steve Bullock.

The policy outlining voluntary preschool and the creation of a new state department of early childhood is carried by Rep. Eric Moore, a Republican from the Miles City area.

Bill Aims To Change Education Of Dyslexic Kids

Mar 21, 2019
Montana Capitol.
Shaylee Rager / UM Legislative News Service

HELENA -- Sen. Cary Smith has a personal connection to a bill he is sponsoring in the Montana Legislature that would address how public schools screen for dyslexia.

“I thought that we’ve know about it for a long time, so obviously we’ve got great programs going to teach kids with dyslexia how to read, but it didn’t turn out that way for us with my granddaughter,” Smith said.

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

The Stevensville School Board has voted to run two construction bonds in both the elementary and high school districts before voters in May. The bonds total over $20 million.

The superintendent for the Stevensville Public School District, Robert Moore, says they will address significant needs for both the kindergarten through 3rd-grade elementary building and for the high school -- especially for the high school.


Gov. Steve Bullock signed a $77 million funding package for Montana public schools into law this week.

The public school funding bill outlines an inflationary increase over the next two years to the K-12 public school system, in which more than 12,000 educators serve more than 150,000 students.

Montana Capitol building.
Nick Mott / MTPR

Gov. Steve Bullock’s request for more than $20 million for preschool funding is not included in the legislature’s initial draft of public education funding. 

The Legislative Subcommittee on Education finished its work Tuesday outlining money for public schools for the next two years.

Enrollment Decline Slows At The University Of Montana

Feb 13, 2019
The University of Montana campus.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Enrollment continues to decline at the University of Montana but the decline has slowed.

The university counted 10,644 students for the spring 2019 semester. That is down 2.9 percent from the fall semester.

Student Loan Reporting Bill Passes State Senate

Feb 12, 2019

The Montana Senate has passed a bill that would request that the Montana University System host workshops to help students better manage their debt.

Senate Bill 87, sponsored by Senator Keith Regier from Kalispell, is scheduled for the House Education Committee Wednesday.

Office of Public Instruction Superintendent Elsie Arntzen delivers the 2019 State of Education Address at the Montana Capitol, Feb. 11, 2019.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

Public school parents will soon have a new tool to see how their local school’s academic scores compare to others across the state.

The first Every Student Succeeds Act report cards for high schools and elementary schools are expected in early to mid-March, according to a spokesperson at the Montana Office of Public Instruction.

Gov. Steve Bullock.
Corin Cates-Carney / MTPR

Publicly funded preschool is again up for debate in the state Legislature. Gov. Steve Bullock is pushing for more than $20 million to fund optional public pre-k for 4-year-olds. Bullock is also asking for $8 million to pay for preschool for Head Start programs and private providers.

This is the last chance for Bullock to pass one of the top priorities of his administration before he terms out of office in 2020.

'Capitol Talk' is MTPR's weekly legislative analysis program.
Montana Public Radio

Gov. Bullock says the state of the state is pretty good; Republicans want to tweak Medicaid expansion; Both parties appear ready to address the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women; And the apparent cover-up of an aide's firing over sexual harassment raises questions of how seriously Governor Bullock — and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio — take that issue. Learn more now on "Capitol Talk."

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