Arntzen Hasn’t Decided on ‘Graduation Matters’ Program

Montana's graduation rate has increased from 80.2 percent to 86 percent since 2012

By Justin Franz

HELENA — The new state superintendent of public instruction says she hasn’t decided whether her office will continue the Graduation Matters Montana program, which gives private grant money to communities for projects that encourage students to graduate from high school.

Last week, Office of Public Instruction spokesman Dylan Klapmeier sent an email to the Ravalli Republic newspaper saying the program was being phased out. A few days later, Superintendent Elsie Arntzen said no decision had been made.

Still, the Graduation Matters Montana website has been taken down. Klapmeier told the Missoulian the program was serving a limited number of schools.

Graduation Matters has awarded grants in 58 communities.

Klapmeier said Arntzen is working with those communities and partners to understand what has worked and what hasn’t.

Since 2012, donors have invested more than $1.3 million in the program and Montana’s graduation rate has increased from 80.2 percent to 86 percent.