- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 15, 2017

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A Democrat’s proposal to establish a statewide charter school system faces an uncertain future in Montana, even as Republicans hailed it as an opportunity to lift struggling schools.

Democratic Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy of Box Elder wants to establish a seven-member charter school commission to oversee the new program. Democrats have generally been opposed to charter schools, and a policy adviser for Gov. Steve Bullock spoke against the proposal during a hearing before the House Education Committee on Wednesday.

Republican leaders say Windy Boy’s proposal could provide the necessary flexibility to help struggling students, particularly those in Montana’s native country.

The proposal could also face legal challenges. A legislative legal review raised concerns about whether the Legislature has the constitutional authority to establish a charter school commission.

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