A List of MQEC’s Accomplishments, 2001-13 – Updated November 18, 2013

  1. 2001-08 – MQEC spearheaded efforts to identify the components and costs of complying with the constitutional guarantee of a basic system of free quality schools as that term is used in the Montana Constitution.  Specific steps accomplished along the way by MQEC included:
    1. Commissioning and completing two separate professional judgment studies of Montana Public Education to identify the programs and services needed in order to serve children as intended under our Constitution.
    2. Successful litigation against the state of Montana with a Montana Supreme Court Order that led to several key improvements in the funding formula, including but not limited to:
      1. The Legislature’s adoption of a meaningful, constitutionally-enforceable definition of the Basic System of Quality Schools in 20-9-309, MCA (2007 Legislative Session);
      2. Adoption of a mechanism for inflation-adjusting the funding formula (adopted in the 2003 Legislative Session);
      3. ANB averaging for school districts experiencing declines in enrollment (2005 Legislative Session);
      4. New funding formula elements for the quality educator payment, at risk payment, American Indian achievement gap payment and American Indian Education for all payment (2005 Special Session); and
      5. Implementation of fulltime kindergarten (2007 Legislative Session).
    3. Although MQEC failed in its bid to have the Court declare the State to be in continued violation of its obligations in Columbia Falls II, the Court in 2008 identified several issues of concern and suggested that failure of the state to address those areas of concern could result in further Court oversight.
  2.  2009-11 – MQEC returned to Court a third time when the Legislature failed to fund inflationary adjustments to the funding formula that were calculated pursuant to the definition of quality under 20-9-309, MCA.  As a result of MQEC’s work, which was accomplished through collaborative negotiation of a settlement with representatives of former Governor Schweitzer and with then-attorney general Steve Bullock, the state agreed to restore the 2% inflationary adjustment that was not funded in the 2011 Legislative Session and built it into the base formula for the 2013 Legislative Session.  The state also signed a consent decree agreeing to fund inflation calculated in compliance with the law in the future.  
  3. 2013 – MQEC worked in partnership with IISM, MASBO, MEA-MFT, MREA, MTSBA and SAM in passing what the press called “historic” legislation in Senate Bill 175.  
  4. We also worked with MASBO, MEA-MFT, MREA, MTSBA and SAM to successfully pass other key legislation benefitting schools (e.g. SB 190, SB 191, SB 348) and in defeating a number of school privatization bills that would have substantially harmed students in Montana’s public schools had they passed. 

Who We Are

MQEC is comprised of school districts and educational organizations from throughout Montana.  In addition to school district members from throughout the state, our statewide education organization members include the School Administrators of Montana (SAM), Montana School Boards Association (MTSBA), the Montana Rural Education Association, MEA-MFT, and Indian Impact Schools of Montana (IISM).  Our Board of Directors for 2013-14 consists of the following: 

AA Districts
Tammy Lacey, Great Falls (East) 
Kent Kultgen, Helena (West) 

A Districts 
Dan Farr, Sidney (East)
Tom Darnell, Anaconda (West)

 B Districts
Andy Holmlund, Ronan (West) 
Al Sipes, Columbus (East) 
C Districts 
Tim Tharp, Sunburst (East) 
Brad Moore, Big Sandy (West) 
 Independent Elementary Districts 
Ron Whitmoyer, East Helena (East) 
Mike Magone, Lolo (West) 

 American Indian Districts 
Robert Bayuk, IISM  

Eric Feaver

Montana Rural Education Association
Dave Puyear

Montana School Boards Association 
Lance Melton 

School Administrators of Montana 
Kirk Miller

Our Mission The Montana Quality Education Coalition (MQEC) works for public school students and their communities to ensure the rights afforded Montanans under Article X of the Montana Constitution.

MQEC Selects New Executive Director


 News from the Montana Quality Education Coalition 

HELENA — On Monday, the Montana Quality Education Coalition Board selected Dianne Burke as the new executive director to lead the board and the membership through the 2015 legislative session. “The Board had a tough choice among some great candidates,” Andy Holmlund, chair of the MQEC Board said. “The combination of Dianne’s strong background in technology, her knowledge of the issues and challenges ahead for K-12 public education in Montana, her many years of advocacy through her role as an elected school board trustee, director and past president of the Montana School Boards Association and her demonstrated commitment to ensuring the provision of a quality education for each child educated in every one of Montana’s public schools brought the MQEC Board to a consensus regarding her selection.”

Burke has been involved in advocacy for K-12 public education for many years, has a great background in the legislative process, and has tremendous organizational skills that will serve MQEC well, according to Holmlund.

Burke currently serves on the Frenchtown School Board and has served on the MQEC Board since 2004. She is the Immediate Past-President of the Montana School Boards Association, having served as President in 2012-2013 during the 2013 Legislative session. Burke plans to begin her service as executive director Feb. 3.