In Landmark Case, SCOTUS Sides With Gianforte, Daines Against Montana Public Schools

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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

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In Landmark Case, SCOTUS Sides With Gianforte, Daines Against Montana Public Schools
Supported by Gianforte, Daines’ Amicus Brief, Court’s Decision Opens Floodgates for Public Dollars to Flow to Religious Schools With No Accountability
Helena, MT – This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue opened the door for more taxpayer dollars to flow to private religious schools at the expense of Montana’s public schools. Supported by Greg Gianforte and Steve Daines, the plaintiffs argued for a tax credit designed to push money to private and religious schools while diverting funds from Montana public schools. Today, Gianforte, Daines and their anti-public education allies won, while Montana’s students and educators lost. 

Gianforte and Daines have long supported diverting public dollars from Montana public schools. Gianforte has called public schools a “monopoly,” and donated over $12 million to Petra Academy, a private, religious school in Bozeman that discriminated against children with special needs. Greg Gianforte is so openly hostile to Montana’s public school students and teachers, that the Montana Federation of Public Employees – Montana’s largest labor union – voted to unanimously condemn his candidacy after he refused to meet with them, a first for the union. And while Gianforte yesterday claimed he wouldn’t cut funding for public schools, the ruling he’s applauding today does just that.

Daines has championed privatization with his ardent support of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos — who he cast the deciding vote for in the Senate after receiving $46,800 from members of the DeVos family. Daines even sat in the Supreme Court gallery, along with DeVos,  during the Espinoza oral arguments. Daines championed the A-Plus Act, which public school advocates said would allow for public funds to be redirected toward private schools.

Today’s ruling will only bolster those who wish to see Montana’s public schools privatized and defunded, at the expense of Montana’s 147,000 public school students and educators and staff.

“Make no mistake about it – Greg Gianforte, Steve Daines and their anti-public school friends delivered a devastating blow to Montana’s public education system today,” said MDP Deputy Communications Director Matt Fidel. “With a green light from the Supreme Court, Gianforte and Daines will have license to gut our public schools. Now more than ever, Montanans must elect leaders to defend our public school system from these outrageous attacks.” 


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