Montana Board of Public Education
The Board of Public Education was created by the Montana Constitution of 1972 to exercise general supervision over the elementary and secondary schools of the state. The Board consists of seven members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate to staggered seven-year terms.
By statute, the Governor must appoint members to the Board so that not more than four may be from one of the two commission districts and not more than four may be affiliated with the same political party.
The Governor, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the Commissioner of Higher Education are ex-officio, non-voting members of the Board. In 1978 the Board added a student representative who is elected by the executive committee of the Montana Association of Student Councils to a one year term. The Board maintains offices in Helena with a staff of four people headed by an executive secretary.
In addition to the constitutional mandate to exercise general supervision of the schools, the Board is assigned specific responsibilities by the Montana Legislature. A partial list of duties requires the Board to:
- adopt standards of accreditation for Montana schools and establish the accreditation status of each school;
- effect a system of teacher certification, including the accreditation of the teacher and administrator training programs;
- consider the suspension or revocation of teacher certificates and hear appeals from the denial of teacher certificates;
- administer and order the distribution of state equalization aid;
- adopt policies for the special education of handicapped and gifted and talented students;
- act as the governing agency for the Montana School for the Deaf and Blind.