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Montana's 67th Legislative Assembly is well underway, and the House and Senate are full of elected officials who wish to privatize our public school system, publicly fund private charter schools, provide vouchers, scale back public services that assist our most vulnerable students, and decrease support for our public school educators.

Public education is the cornerstone of every Montana community and every child is entitled to a thriving public school. Diverting public money to private for-profit institutions starves public schools of vital resources.

We, like most Montanans, firmly believe public funds belong in public schools, which are open to all children, governed by a locally elected school board, and accountable to the Board of Public Education.

Join us in urging the Montana State Legislature to protect our public schools.

Governor Greg Gianforte recently released his updated vaccination plan, which removes teachers, school employees, and other front-line workers from being prioritized for the COVID vaccine in the coming weeks.

This decision is bad for schools, bad for public health, and bad for the thousands of heroic Montanans who have risked their own personal health and safety to keep our schools open and our economy moving.

Sign the petition today to urge Governor Gianforte to review and revise his updated vaccination rollout plan.

I am sure many of you saw the report in last week’s New York Times concerning the reprehensible plan by Betsy DeVos to funnel “coronavirus relief funds to favored private and religious schools.”

The very next day there were reports in the Montana media outlining how much of the desperately needed COVID-19 funds intended for Montana’s public schools and students might be diverted to private institutions: $1.3 million

Montana’s private schools were already getting funds under “equity” guidelines and our public school districts were giving money to private schools that had children in need.  But these new rules by the federal Department of Education go far beyond this equity. 

Initially, the equitable services provision for private schools focused on the same low-income student group, but guidance from Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos expanded that to include all private school enrollment — a disproportionately larger metric than the low-income measure for public schools.” - Helena Independent Record

But this greedy power grab by DeVos is getting strong pushback.  Some State Superintendents of Public Schools have stood strong and are ignoring the “guidelines.”

"Indiana's Republican superintendent of public instruction, Jennifer McCormick, tweeted thatafter consulting with her state's attorney general, she would ignore the guidance. "' will not play political agenda games with [COVID-19] relief funds,' she said.”  - NPR

Montana’s current Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Artnzen must do the same, but hasn't.

We must be loud and uncompromising in making sure our voices are heard that public funds belong to public schools.

Stay tuned.

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