Updated: Jul 21
It appears Montana will soon join 45 other states in permitting public charter schools.
Two bills have passed this legislative session that seek to lift the state's ban. HB 562, introduced by Rep. Sue Vinton, is the more expansive option. Meantime, HB 549, introduced by Rep. Fred Anderson, has also passed both chambers.
Montana has been an outlier when it comes to charter schools. While other states have sought to expand education choice options, Montana children have had to wait.
Charter schools are public schools that receive public funds. They often will operate under a contract with a state or local school district. But charter school laws vary from state to state. While Washington, for example, allows public charter schools, the law is so limiting that it produces an artificial cap on the number of students who can attend.
Meantime, states like Arizona, Florida and Massachusetts have hundreds of charter schools.
Allowing parents more options shouldn't be a controversial idea. Montanans have waited long enough for public charter schools. The time to make it a reality is now.