Superintendents struggle to set meeting with OPI following letter of concern

A meeting between Montana’s eight AA school superintendents and the Office of Public Instruction scheduled for Friday afternoon was postponed.

There was disagreement on where the meeting should be held and limited availability of their schedules during this COVID surge, the superintendents say.

In early December, the superintendents penned a letter to state Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen to express their disappointment with her leadership. In the letter, they cited nine specific issues, including OPI’s high staff turnover rate, unlicensed educators, updated content standards and special education.

“While we would like to find a date, time and location for a future meeting, it makes sense to postpone the meeting until we have a decrease in cases and we can dedicate more time and focus to a meeting with Supt. Arntzen,” Missoula County Public Schools Superintendent Rob Watson wrote in an email to the Missoulian.

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Watson was one of the superintendents who signed the letter of concern — the others are Greg Upham (Billings), Godfrey Saunders (Belgrade), Casey Bertram (Bozeman), Tom Moore (Great Falls), Judy Jonart (Butte), Micah Hill (Kalispell)

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