School Choice Policies

Charter School Choice

Does the state have charter schools?


No charter school policies found.

Education Commission of the States 50-State Comparison

Are for-profit charter schools or management companies allowed?

Not Applicable

Is there a cap on the number of charter schools?

Not Applicable

Are charters required to provide transportation for any students?

Not Applicable

Can charter schools employ uncertified teachers?

Not Applicable

Virtual School Choice

Do state statutes allow for full-time virtual schools?


There is a Montana digital academy at a unit of the Montana university system, with the purpose of making distance learning opportunities available to all school-age children through public school districts in the state of Montana.

Statutes do not specify whether students can attend full-time. According to the Montana Digital Academy website, they offer supplemental distance education.

20-7-1201 (1-2) Montana digital academy -- purposes -- governance
Montana Digital Academy

Are virtual schools required to track attendance?

Did not find

Do virtual schools have to comply with state teacher certification requirements?


"The purposes of the Montana digital academy are to...offer high-quality instructors who are licensed and endorsed in Montana."

20-7-1201 (2b) Montana digital academy -- purposes -- governance.

Private School Choice

Does the state have voucher programs?


No voucher programs found.

EdChoice School Choice in America

Does the state have educational expense tuition tax credits or deductions?


Montana does have a tax credit for contributions to private schools. The state's highest court struck down the program because it violated the Montana constitution's ban on state aid to religious organizations. In Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the application of Article X, Section 6 of the Montana Constitution violated the U.S. Constitution.

Star Tribune: Supreme Court to review Montana school choice program

Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, 591 U.S. __ (2020)

Can students use vouchers to attend religious schools?

Not Applicable

Is there a cap on the number of students or private schools participating in voucher programs?

Not Applicable

Are voucher students in private schools required to take any standardized tests?

Not Applicable

Can private schools be removed from voucher programs based on performance?

Not Applicable

Are private schools in voucher programs required to provide transportation?

Not Applicable

Interdistrict School Choice

Does the state have interdistrict choice programs?


Montana law allows interdistrict choice. Depending on the circumstances, it is sometimes mandatory that a districts accepts a nonresident student.

Education Commission of the States states, "Interdistrict open enrollment is mandatory when one of the following applies:

  • The child resides closer to the receiving school and more than three miles from his or her resident school and the resident district does not provide transportation.
  • It is impractical for the student to attend the resident school because of geographic conditions, including a bus ride of more than one hour (for elementary students), traveling certain distances to attend school, or geographic barriers that prohibit travel.
  • The student's sibling attends high school in another district and student may more conveniently attend an elementary school where the high school is located, under circumstances.
  • The child is under the protective care of a state agency, or has been adjudicated to be a youth in need of intervention or a delinquent youth.
  • The child is required to attend school outside of the district of residence as the result of a placement in foster care or a group home."

20-5-320 Attendance With Discretionary Approval
20-5-321 Attendance With Mandatory Approval -- Tuition And Transportation
Education Commission of the States 50 State Comparison

Are receiving schools or districts required to provide transportation to any students?


If the trustees grant discretionary approval of the child's attendance in a school of the district, the parent or guardian may be charged tuition and may be charged for transportation.

20-5-320 (1)

Page last updated: December 2020

Click here to download the State Policy Spreadsheet. Click here to download the State Policy Map Data Memo.

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The State Policy Map provides a snapshot of school choice policy found in laws passed by the legislative bodies, for all 50 states and Washington, D.C., based on information gathered from state statutes in fall 2019; data checks continued through December 2020. Information on this site may not include the most up-to-date policy information. The State Policy Map does not systematically reflect state Department of Education administrative policies, rules, or regulations. All content on this site is provided for informational purposes only. Links to third-party websites are for the user’s convenience; neither REACH nor any affiliated entities endorse the contents of third-party sites.

Note: On June 30, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Montana's exclusion of religious schools from the state's tax credit scholarship program was unconstitutional (Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue 591). The responses to the question "Can students use vouchers to attend religious schools?" were collected before this ruling and therefore do not reflect any changes resulting from the Espinoza decision.