Chapter 55 Comments are Critically Important Now in Montana

We're sharing an urgent update from Montana Library Association President Angela Archuleta in advance of the next Negotiated Rules Making Committee meetings on 6/16 and 6/17 the State Capitol. Public comments and participation is critically important right now. 

Fellow Librarians, Friends of Libraries, Trustees, and Parents,

The NRMC Committee met on June 9, 2022. They did not discuss school librarian or counselor ratios at this particular meeting. Dana Caramichael provides this short summary: 
"This meeting did not address proposals to change ARM 55-57. Instead, they spent about an hour on language changes to other accreditation rules such as 10.55.603. In the last part of the meeting, they discussed changes to Charter School applications to make them reflect the expectation that students will perform at least as well or higher than other schools and that students will take required state assessments. I thought Ann Ewbanks’ public comment was particularly powerful, so the first 10 minutes of the recording is worth a listen."

I recently wrote to the members of the NRMC thanking them for their support.  I noted the following: I know recently that OPI members of this committee have argued that no research exists to support ratios for counselors and librarians. Yet, Montana has supported this system for over thirty years through both Democratic and Republican Party administrations. There is research that supports that having endorsed school librarians increases literacy rates. Many letters were written to the TF and this Committee citing that very research. The Superintendent says she supports quality, yet, she recommends only A librarian for a system. If she believed in quality, you should require a school librarian in every school. Our libraries, librarians and counselors provide a safety net for our students. We need multiple counselors in our schools. I have had adults in Browning tell me the library was their safe place. We are living in a time when the need for counselors and librarians is at an all-time high.

Read the news story about the first NRMC hearing (May 18): Over 640 public comments through this campaign, 120 people at the meeting opposing these changes, and no one "for" it. Let's keep this going for MT School Librarians and Counselors!

From Ruth Uecker: We appreciate your public comment and I encourage you to continue to submit it on the OPI Chapter 55 public comment page.  Public feedback is critical to this process. The Negotiated Rules Making Committee is meeting in person at the State Capitol on June 16 and 17. If you can physically attend this meeting please do.

NRMC Committee Meetings

June 16, 2022 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
June 17, 2022 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Montana State Capitol Building - Room 102
1301 E 6th Ave, Helena, MT 59601

Please continue to share our call-to-action and petition to the NRMC with friends, family, co-workers, and post on social media. Encourage people to continue to comment. We need school librarians and counselors in our schools. We need comments to continue.

Thank you all for your continued support.

Angela Archuleta, President- MLA, KW Vina Elementary, Browning Public School District #9