Flathead County Has Most Homeschool Students in Montana

County superintendent reports that total public and private enrollment is up, even as Flathead had highest statewide number of homeschooled students

By Micah Drew
Martha Artyomenko with her homeschooled sons Tony and Lee in Lion Park in Kalispell on Aug. 31. Artyomenko administers Facebook and email groups to assist, connect and support home educators. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

During the Jan. 12 meeting of the Flathead County Commission, Superintendent of Schools Jack Eggensperger reviewed the latest 2020 statistical report on school enrollment in the county.

In the report, Eggensperger highlighted that Flathead County had 1,567 registered homeschool students as of Oct. 5, 2020, the most of any county in Montana. That represented an increase of 119% from last year.

Total in-person enrollment in the county across public and private schools was 16,758, an increase of 2% from last year and up 14% over the last 10 years.

Eggensperger spoke about his concerns that students were going to deal with major education setbacks after a year punctuated by periodic school closures, a restricted learning environment and a shift to online learning for part of 2020.

“I think we’re going to see a year lost in education,” Eggensperger told the commissioners. “If we get testing done this year, we won’t see scores until September, but once we see those it’ll be interesting to see where the students are at.”

In other business, the commissioners unanimously voted to deny a preliminary plat extension request by Toby Gilchrist for the Glacier Gateway RV Resort.

The preliminary plat was first approved in 2014 for 62 RV sites, six cabins and 10 tent sites on a 13-acre property along U.S. Highway 2 east of Columbia Falls.

Staff from the planning department told the commissioners that this was the third requested extension and that no work had been done on the site.


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