Charter Schools

Montana Lawmakers Approve Charter Schools, Tuition Tax Credits

But charters would be subject to educrats, with limited independence


HELENA – The state Senate on Wednesday endorsed a bill allowing public charter schools in Montana, but not before a razor-close vote watered down the proposal by limiting any new charter school's independence from state education rules.

Also Wednesday, the Montana House endorsed a separate "school choice" measure, which creates $550 income tax credits for Montana families who send their kids to private schools.

The bills are two of the three school choice bills still alive at the 2013 Legislature. Each measure endorsed Wednesday faces a final vote this week before advancing to the next legislative house for further hearings and votes.

Montana is one of only eight states that do not allow charter schools, which often are run by groups outside the public school bureaucracy and offer special curriculums, designed to appeal to students whose needs may not be met by regular public schools.