Montana Ed board upholds librarian, counselor ratios

Existing staffing ratios for librarians, counselors and administrative positions will stay the same following an enormous outpouring of public comment to the Montana Board of Public Education.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen recommended eliminating state-mandated ratios for those positions in an effort to emphasize local control with accreditation standards, which raised concerns among many education stakeholders.

More than 1,200 public comments were submitted urging the board to retain the current ratios for counselors. Another 1,000 wrote in support of staffing ratios for school librarians, and about 200 public comments were sent in concerning principals and superintendents.

“We have guardrails in place to guide schools,” said board member Anne Keith. “I think ratios are guardrails that I’m not willing to give up since there is a variance to standards process that you can follow to show that your local control can go above and beyond these minimums.”

People are also reading…

Throughout the public comment process, many experts and community members voiced concerns that eliminating staffing ratios altogether would allow school boards to cut those positions when their budgets get tight.

Deputy Superintendent Sharyl Allen disagreed that school boards would “immediately start cutting people” and argued

View Source