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By: Lily Crespo Esq.
Two bills recently passed by the Montana Legislature have some significant impacts on school districts.
Senate Bill 157 allows home and private school students to join public school extracurricular activities.
All home school and/or non-public private school students, living within the boundaries of a school district, are now eligible (beginning July 1, 2021) to participate in the school district’s extra-curricular programs
The bill provides that;
A school district or an athletic association, conference, or organization with authority over interscholastic sports (or an elementary/middle school sport/activity) may not prohibit or restrict the ability of a student attending a nonpublic or home school meeting the requirements of 20-5-109 (MCA) from participating in extracurricular activities at a school in the student’s resident school district solely on the student’s enrollment at the public school or on the number of hours the student physically attends the public school.
A student attending a nonpublic or home school who participates in extracurricular activities at a public school is subject to: (1) the same standards for participation as those required of full-time students enrolled in the school; (2) the same rules of any interscholastic organization of which the school of participation is a member; (3) the academic eligibility for extracurricular participation for a student attending a nonpublic school must be attested by the head administrator of the nonpublic school; (4) the academic eligibility for extracurricular participation for a student attending a home school must be attested in writing by the educator providing the student instruction with verification by the school principal. The verification may not include any form of student assessment.
Related to these changes, Senate Bill 0072 allows the school district can collect ANB funding for those students based on the following schedule
The completed extracurricular activity must be for a duration of, at least, 6 weeks; (2) each completed extracurricular activity may be counted as one-sixteenth enrollment for the individual, but under this statute, the individual may not be counted as more than one full-time enrollment for ANB purposes; (3) each completed extracurricular activity lasting longer than 18 weeks may be counted as one-eighth enrollment.
For the purposes of this statute, “extracurricular activity” means: (1) a sport or activity sanctioned by an organization having jurisdiction over interscholastic (and/or elementary school/middle school) activities, contests, and tournaments; (2) an approved career and technical student organization; and/or (3) a school theater production.
Thank you to Douglas Reisig, Ed.D. Superintendent, Hellgate Elementary, for reading the small print and alerting us to this important change. As you consider these and other issues, we recommend you speak with your school lawyer or contact Bea, Kevin, Megan, Beth, and Lily by email or at 406-542-1300 to discuss these issues.