Montana Public Radio

Kendra Espinoza

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.

Kendra Espinoza in her Kalispell home  Jan. 14, 2020. Espinoza’s family is front and center in the case before the U.S. Supreme Court, which will decide whether states like Montana can exclude religious schools from school choice programs.
Aaron Bolton / Montana Public Radio

Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments both for and against the Montana Supreme Court’s decision to shut down a school choice program it said violated the state constitution’s ban on public money flowing to religious schools. The case may decide whether Montana and other states can exclude religious schools from school choice programs.

Praying with a rosary
(PD)

This week, three parents from a Christian school in Kalispell filed a suit over the state’s exclusion of religious schools in a program to provide scholarships for public and private education.

Kendra Espinoza is one of the plaintiffs in the case. She says scholarships are the only reason why she can afford to send her kids to the private religious school she chooses.