With over 400 students currently enrolled, Stillwater Christian School in Kalispell is one of the largest private schools in Montana. With that much brainpower under one roof, it is no surprise that both students and parents alike have made significant inroads for Christian Education in Montana and beyond.
One of the primary reasons that those associated with Stillwater have had such success, specifically with the recent Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue decision, is that Stillwater is led by a well-accomplished and highly competent administrative staff.
Although the staff at Stillwater function well as a team, each team needs a leader. At Stillwater, that position is occupied by the Head of School, Mr. Jeremy Marsh. Recently, Jeremy sent out an e-mail prompting its recipients to become involved in the legislative process, specifically in support of HB 279.
Dear Stillwater Community,
This afternoon, I will be testifying remotely before the Montana House Education Committee in support of HB 279. This bill, which comes on the heels of last summer’s U.S. Supreme Court victory for Montana’s scholarship tax credit program in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, would dramatically expand and enhance the state’s scholarship program. As most of you know, that case involved three courageous Stillwater mothers, whose willingness to fight for greater school choice is already having an impact nationwide and, we hope, soon in Montana.
HB 279 makes a number of key changes to the existing program:
- Increases the maximum donor contribution toward scholarships from $150 to $200,000 per year. This much stronger tax incentive will allow school choice organizations like Big Sky Scholarships and ACE Scholarships, which benefit Stillwater students, to raise much more money for scholarships statewide.
- Allows the program to grow naturally along with demand. The bill allows for the program’s overall cap, currently set at $3 million, to automatically grow by 20 percent if 80 percent of the cap amount is raised in a given year.
- Increases scholarship values to 100 percent of state average per-pupil expenditures. Previously, scholarship values were limited to 50 percent or less of this figure.
- Streamlines processes for donors and requirements for schools. Together, these changes will make the program more sustainable financially and easier to administer for both student scholarship organizations and participating schools.
This bill is set to be heard by the House Education Committee TODAY at 3:00 p.m. Committee members need to hear from Montana citizens like us about what these changes could mean for students in Montana, including our own students. Click here to join ACE Scholarship’s digital advocacy campaign to send a message to committee members about this bill or school choice in general.
Please join me in praying for the success of this effort which could make Christian schooling more affordable for many families in Montana.
Mr. Jeremy Marsh – Head of School
Jeremy joined Jim White from Montana Gazette Radio recently to discuss the finer points of HB 279 and to recount the great decision in the Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue case.