Family Foundation targets MT public schools

March 18, 2015 / Comments (0)



Jeff Laszloffy, head of the right-wing Montana Family Foundation, has been a ubiquitious presence at the 2015 Montana Legislature. One of the group’s main goals is to pass bills that siphon public funds from public schools to private schools. 

Most of the Montana Family Foundation’s legislative podcast  has nothing to do with MEA-MFT’s work. We don’t get involved at all in reproductive rights, assisted suicide, or marriage. But listen beginning the 2:55 mark.

It’s for you to decide whether the Montana Family Foundation would privatize our public schools.  

The following bills and at least one bill yet to be introduced are still in play working their way through the legislative process:

HB 322 (D. Jones) – Creates a pay voucher for qualified students to enroll in private elementary and secondary schools and even post-secondary schools. Fiscal Note. Legal Review Note. Passed House – Referred to Senate Education. 

HB 433 (Berglee) – Provides a tax credit of up to $1,000 for parents sending their child to a private or religious school or an out-of-resident-district public school. Passed House Education. Hearing House Appropriations March 24. 
HB 595 (Fitzpatrick) – Creates individual income tax credit for higher education, no matter what kind or where.  Fiscal Note and Legal Review Note not yet prepared.  Heard House Education – March 16.

HB 596 (Kundsen) – Establishes charter schools anywhere in Montana.  Legal Review Note Hearing House Education – March 25. 

LC 661 (L. Jones) – Creates income tax credits for public schools and student scholarship organizations.  Tax credit bill #7.  Not yet introduced.  Draft in legal review.

And not for ONE moment should anyone doubt that Representative Debra Lamm’s anti-Common Core, anti-board of public education bills have nothing to do with the Montana Family Foundation and public school trashing and attempts to privatize. Two of her bills have passed the House/  Been heard in Senate committees. Their fate yet to be decided:

HB 377 (Lamm) – Limits the constitutional authority of the board of public education to consider and adopt school accreditation standards; creates an accreditation standards review council; and repeals Montana’s common core standards.  Fiscal Note.  Legal Review NoteRead more about this dangerous & unconstitutional bill.  Passed House. Heard Senate Education March 16. 

HB 501 (Lamm) – Prohibits school districts from collecting and sharing a huge laundry list of student information and directing students to participate in statewide testing. More tampering with Common Core. Fiscal Note. Passed House – Heard Senate Judiciary – March 17.

MEA-MFT is working to stop these bills — which would take scarce public dollars from public schools and divert the money to private schools with little or no public oversight. We are working with a broad coalition of parents, school board members, administrators, and many others.

Thankfully, one bad bill is out of the picture for this session:
HB 511 (Tschida)  – Would have authorized tax credits for student scholarship organizations.  Fiscal Note.  Tabled in House Taxation 3/13. Read more.

We have a lot more work to do. You can help! Please watch our Take Action section and be ready to help by contacting your legislators and key committees at crucial times. Thank you!

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