School Choice Grows in Montana, No Matter What Type of School Parents Choose: What Parents Need to Know

Open enrollment, public charter schools, private school choice programs, homeschooling, and online learning more accessible starting in 2024

HELENA, Mont. – Montana families will soon have access to expanded educational options in every type of learning environment, with most changes taking effect for the next school year (2024–2025). Changes parents will want to begin exploring include standardized open enrollment, the advent of public charter schools, expanded private school choice programs, improved online learning opportunities, and part-time public school enrollment options for homeschoolers.

As parents unpack what these changes mean for them, they can rely on a comprehensive guide from the National School Choice Awareness Foundation – a nonprofit that helps parents navigate K-12 education options in traditional public, public charter, public magnet, private, online, and home education environments – highlighting practical considerations for families and answering questions they might have right now.

With these changes, Montana has become the 46th state in the country to create a pathway for public charter schools to operate, offering additional educational options to families. At the same time, private school options are expanding in three significant ways. The tax credit scholarship program’s cap has more than doubled, allowing for increased donations and more scholarships for low- and middle-income students. Additionally, a new program launching in 2024, the Students with Special Needs Opportunity Act, will provide education savings accounts of approximately $6,800 for families of children with disabilities to use for private school tuition, therapies, and other approved learning expenses.

The guide answers other common questions about what’s changing, including:

  • How will this make open enrollment in traditional public schools easier?
  • What new, free, online learning options are available for students?
  • What part-time enrollment opportunities are available to homeschoolers?

“Montana cleared the field this year when it comes to robust school choice expansions in every type of school, truly impacting every family in the state,” said Shelby Doyle, vice president of public awareness at the National School Choice Awareness Foundation. “There’s no one-size-fits-all type of school for each family, which is why a balanced approach such as standardizing open enrollment, introducing charter schools, enhancing private school options, improving online learning, and allowing part-time enrollment for homeschoolers, puts families first and ensures the brightest future for Montana’s K-12 students.”

More information and resources for journalists can be found at schoolchoiceweek.com/multimedia. More information for families can be found at https://schoolchoiceweek.com/montana-makes-landmark-education-changes/ or https://schoolchoiceweek.com/states/montana/.

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The National School Choice Awareness Foundation (NSCAF) raises broad and positive awareness of school choice through two charitable programs: organizing National School Choice Week each January and the research, development, and promotion of comprehensive and unbiased school navigation resources for parents via School Choice Week and Conoce tus Opciones Escolares. NSCAF does not advocate for or oppose legislation at any level of government and is steadfastly nonpartisan and nonpolitical.

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