Montana Ed board wraps up school accreditation rule revisions

The Montana Board of Public Education voted to adopt revisions to school accreditation standards on Friday, wrapping up a years-long process that roused “unprecedented” public comment over how many counselors, librarians and administrators schools needed.

“Here we are – finally – at the end of a very long road that has been traveled for quite a while,” said board member Tim Tharp.

Chapter 55 of the Administrative Rules of Montana was officially reopened in 2020 and multiple stakeholder groups, committees and panels met to provide recommendations and insight to update the state’s accreditation standards. The extended timeline was caused by stalemates in early committees and the board’s decision to extend the revision timeline this fall.

“I would be remiss if I did not thank the literally thousands and thousands of Montana residents and experts who weighed in on these important rules, getting us to this point today for the Montana Board of Public Education to act on,” Tharp said.

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Much of the outcry during the revision process surrounded changes to state-mandated student-to-staff ratios for school counselors, librarians and administrators, which the Office of Public Instruction recommended to diminish. However, the

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