Montana Focus

An in-depth news and public affairs series hosted by Gene Brodeur which tackles issues across the state relating to politics and government, natural resources, business development, and social changes. Produced by Gene Brodeur and Scott Sterling for MontanaPBS.

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Homeless Schooling

The Tea Party: Taxed Enough Already?


Teaching and the State Constitution
 (No. 104)
Montana Focus takes viewers to Helena where a court case over the funding of education is unfolding. At the heart of the case is the argument that state funding for Montana schools is depriving children of the quality education called for in the state constitution. Is Montana living up to its obligation to offer a quality education? District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock must decide. Produced by Gene Brodeur and Scott Sterling for KUSM, MontanaPBS, MSU-Bozeman, (406) 994-3437. (First Aired Thursday, April 08, 2004)

EPISODE DETAILS -†1st Segment: Public Service Commissioners Jergeson, Raney, Mood, and Molnar talk about the fact that deregulation is here to stay, but can be modified to provide customers with more choices.† One being, a PSC approval for NorthWestern Energy to proceed with a 20 year contract to buy wind powered energy from a 150 megawatt wind turbine farm near Judith Gap.† In the legislature, Great Falls Rep. George Golie loses a bid to allow the electric city to create its own utility district.† Rep. Alan Olson tried to advance a bill that would have allowed for companies like NorthWestern to generate as well as deliver electrical power to their customers.

2nd Segment: Chuck Johnson, Lee Newspaper Capitol Bureau Chief, looks at the wind farm proposal and the school funding issue facing the 2005 legislature.

3rd Segment: Governor Schweitzer wants to lure Hollywood producers to the Big Sky, but the jury is still out on incentives to keep them from heading across the border to Canada, where itís cheaper to make movies about Montana.

4th Segment: And, film student Lacy Wittman visits a Jane Fonda workshop aimed at building confidence in young girls.

Related Links

Northwestern Energy

PPL Montana

Montana Public Service Commission

2005 Montana Legislature

L E A D†† S T O R Y
Focus104-1_1.jpgThis week's lead story on Montana Focus takes us to Helena for the closing arguments in Columbia School District et al versus the State of Montana. A coalition involving 11 school districts, parents of school students, education groups, and the Montana Indian Education Association are charging that the state comes up short in meeting its constitutional obligation to provide a quality education to public school students in Montana. We'll hear from Plaintiff's Attorney James Molly, and State Solicitor Brian Morris. Denise Juneau, studying law at the University of Montana, talks about the M.I.E.A. Friend of the Court brief.

Links to further information:
- Montana Quality Education Coalition (MQEC)
- Montana Legislative Branch: Committee On Indian Affairs
- Recommendations to the Board of Regents

S E G M E N T † T W O
In the second segment of the show Deborah Neuman talks about a dramatic improvement in student performance when parents get involved in their children's education. The parent/liaison program at Prevent Child Abuse in Bozeman has become a nationwide model for success.

Links to further information:
- Prevent Child Abuse, Inc. - Bozeman, Montana

Dave Shors, Editor of the Helena Independent Record talks about a study†on heart attacks by a pair of Helena doctors that was published in the British Medical Journal.

Links to further information:
- UK Health News Headlines
- Helena Independent Record†

S E G M E N T † F O U R
Focus104_4.jpgCentral Asia Institute Director Greg Mortenson, just back from a lengthy visit to Pakistan and Afghanistan, talks about his efforts to promote education and health care in the war torn region. Executive Director and Co-founder of the Central Asia Institute (CAI), Mortenson has worked to open and sustain schools for over 4,000 girls living in the remote mountain areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan since 1993. The schools promote literacy, women's vocational schools, health and hygiene, and environmental awareness. CAI was founded in the memory of Mortenson's late sister, Christa, who succumbed to epilepsy in the early 90s. Mortenson was born in Tanzania. His father founded the Kilimanjaro Medical Center and his mother founded the International School of Moshi in Tanzania. He left Africa at the age of 14 when his family returned to the U.S. to live. He now splits his time between Montana and Central Asia.

Links to further information:
- Central Asia Institute


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