May 1, 2015
Disappointing Decision by Montana Governor Bullock to Veto Education Savings Account Legislation
School Choice bill would have empowered Montana parents to choose the best learning environments for their children with special needs
Tallahassee, Fla. – Yesterday evening Montana Governor Steve Bullock vetoed the Montana Special Needs Education Savings Account Program (HB 322). The House of Representatives passed the bill on February 23 and the Senate on April 18. This powerful educational choice reform would have allowed parents of students with special needs to customize their child’s education and make decisions on best meeting the learning needs of their children. Had Governor Bullock signed the bill, Montana would have become a national leader in school choice and the fifth state in the nation to adopt Education Savings Accounts.
Excellence in Education National (@Excel_National) Executive Director Patricia Levesque said, “We are disheartened by Governor Bullock’s decision to veto legislation that would have helped students with special needs. This veto is especially disappointing given the fact that similar legislation in Florida, Arizona and Mississippi has generated bipartisan support from governors and legislatures alike.
“If a child with special needs is stuck in a learning environment that is not meeting his unique needs, his parents should be able to direct the funding to a school or program that can help the student flourish – Education Savings Accounts do just that.
“We thank Representative Donald Jones and Senator Kristin Hansen for sponsoring the bill, and the Montana Legislature for passing the Montana Special Needs Education Savings Account Program. We are hopeful that Governor Bullock will revisit his support for this innovative school choice program and look forward to working with the Montana Legislature next session.”
Facts about the Montana Special Needs Education Savings Account Program (HB 322):
- The law would have provided parents of students with disabilities (Individual Education Plan or 504 plan), foster children and children with parents in the military 95 percent of their per-pupil allocation of funding to customize their child’s education.
- The law would not have restricted choice with participant or monetary caps.
- The law would have allowed parents to use the funds to pay for private school tuition, online learning, tutoring, educational therapies and postsecondary college courses.
For more information visit www.ExcelNational.org.