Late Friday Feb. 6, the House Education Committee passed HB 322 out of committee and Senate Education passed SB 107.
Each bill should be on 2d reading in the House and Senate respectively early next week.
HB 322 (D. Jones) – Creates a pay voucher for qualified students to enroll in private elementary and secondary schools and even post-secondary schools. First privatization bill introduced this session. Passed House Education – February 6
Among several possibilities, a qualified student could be any age between 5 and 24 years old and meet one of the following definitions: be disabled, attend a school with a deficiency accreditation status, be the child of a member of the armed forces, or be the sibling of a child who qualifies. Unconstitutional and expensive.
SB 107 (T. Brown) – Authorizes Lockwood, East Helena, and Hellgate Elementary, all k-8 elementary districts, to morph into k-12 elementary and high school districts by seceding from existing high school districts. SB 107 negatively impacts Billings, Helena, and Missoula. Passed Senate Education – February 6.
SB 107 is the only bill ever introduced into the state legislature that would divest one school district of its students, property, tax base, programs, services, and staff to create or benefit another school district.
We can still stop these bad bills. Stand by.