Montana’s Superintendent of Public Schools Elsie Arntzen addressed the Montana Legislature on Monday afternoon to discuss education issues facing the lawmakers and the state.

In her address, Arntzen recalled the first day of the legislative session when she hosted a gathering of lawmakers to address the issue of school safety.

“Senator Keith Regier is championing the Student Safety and Accountability Act,” said Arntzen. “This recognizes that students are a protected class and cannot consent to sexual relationships with school officials, as they are in a position of trust and authority. I am grateful to Representative Morigeau, Representative Rickey, and all of you who are making school safety a priority this session.”

Arntzen then issued her call for full funding of the Office of Public Instruction.

“I am requesting that you give Montana students the largest ever appropriation for K-12 state air funding,” she said. “$70 million. $70 million that will provide our local school boards with stability as they begin budgeting for their next class of students.”

Arntzen then reminded legislators that millions of dollars were cut from her budget last session in a way that any grade school student could understand.

“Representative Hopkins made a statement that his mother told him, and I think it’s very fitting here,” she said. “If you’re going to play with something that isn’t yours, be sure you put in back. A promise is a promise. Restore state responsibility to fund our schools.”

Arntzen also spoke of implementation of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, initiatives to prepare students for post-secondary success, and her vision for the coming biennium.