FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Elsie Arntzen Skips Critical Hearing to Attend Partisan Pence Rally — Sends Spokesman Empty-Handed
OPI “[doesn’t] have a good answer” on redirecting $1.3 million in CARES funding back to public schools
Helena, MT – Yesterday, State Superintendent Elsie Arntzen skipped out on the final Education Interim Committee meeting (15:57:22) of the year to attend a partisan rally with the Vice President, leaving legislators — and her own staff — without answers on how she plans to redirect $1.3 million in CARES funding back to public schools.
Earlier this month, a federal judge struck down Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s May directive diverting taxpayer dollars to private schools in Montana. That directive, with Elsie Arntzen’s eager support, drove an estimated $1.3 million from Montana public schools to private institutions. Controversy about the legality of the guidance has circulated since its inception, but instead of preparing for the possibility of a reversal, Arntzen and her administration failed to make a plan. Tim Johnson — Arntzen’s fifth deputy superintendent in three and a half years — showed up in his boss’s place empty-handed, telling legislators, “I don’t have a good answer for you when it comes to how to make the funds whole as a result of this.”
“Montana public schools are out $1.3 million, and Elsie Arntzen would rather rub elbows with party bosses than show up to offer a solution,” said MDP Communications Director Nathan Stein. “Montana students, parents, and teachers need answers, but — to no one’s surprise — Superintendent Arntzen is nowhere to be found.”
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