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Bitterroot College proposal advances in MT Legislature

Bitterroot College
Posted at 8:38 PM, Feb 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-28 22:38:37-05

HELENA — Plans for allowing Bitterroot College to become a stand-alone institution are making progress in Helena, with lawmakers expected to take final votes in the Senate within the next few days.

Last spring, Ravalli County voters did a "two for one" split on the idea of taking Bitterroot College independent, approving the formation of a board of trustees, but turning down a plan for funding the operation. That leaves the Legislature responding to the call to form the district, but with the funding question unresolved.

But even half of the plan appears to be winning support in Helena.

The Senate Education and Cultural Resources Committee took comments last week on the Senate Joint Resolution which would approve the formation of the Bitterroot College District. A final vote is pending to see if the idea will be sent to the full Senate for a vote on the resolution introduced by Senator Jason Ellsworth.

State Representative David Bedey's bill, which passed the House on a vote of 55-to-42, called for more clarification about the formation of community college districts. He has said those changes are critical to expansion of not only Bitterroot College, but for other future community colleges across Montana.