Montana Administrative Register Notice 10-66-102 No. 7   04/15/2022    
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In the matter of the adoption of New Rule I pertaining to state diplomas









TO: All Concerned Persons


1. On June 10, 2022, the Superintendent of Public Instruction proposes to adopt the above-stated rule.


2. The Office of Public Instruction (OPI) will make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities who wish to participate in this rulemaking process or need an alternative accessible format of this notice. If you require an accommodation, contact OPI no later than 5:00 p.m. on April 29, 2022, to advise us of the nature of the accommodation that you need. Please contact Brian O'Leary, Office of Public Instruction, 1227 11th Avenue, Helena, Montana, 59601; telephone (406) 444-3559; fax (406) 444- 444-2893; or e-mail brian.o'leary@mt.gov.


3. The rule as proposed to be adopted provides as follows:


NEW RULE I STATE DIPLOMAS (1)  The eligibility and qualifications for pursing a Montana proficiency-based diploma (state diploma) pursuant to 20-3-110, MCA, are as follows:

(a)  An individual is eligible for a state diploma if that individual:

(i)  is at least 17 years of age and otherwise would be eligible for admittance to school under 20-5-101, MCA; and

(ii)  demonstrates, by a written communication from the individual's school district, that the individual is not capable of completing the school district's graduation requirements; and

(b)  An eligible individual qualifies for a state diploma if that individual:

(i)  completes a high school equivalency diploma under ARM Title 10, chapter 6, subchapter 1 with a score at least 20% above the minimum passing score;

(ii)  completes a program that includes a community-based mentorship for the individual and that the Superintendent of Public Instruction has determined meets the requirements of 20-3-110(1)(b), MCA; and

(iii)  prepares a written plan for the individual's pathway to college or career readiness that has been approved by the mentor and the program under (1)(b)(ii).

(2)  All state diplomas are issued by the superintendent, who may authorize the program under (1)(b)(ii) to present the diploma to an eligible individual.

(3)  The superintendent is aware that these rules cannot cover all the special circumstances that can arise when determining whether an individual has demonstrated the requirements to receive a state diploma.  Therefore, the superintendent may exercise judgment to issue a state diploma in unusual cases when the eligible individual has evidenced in writing specific facts that demonstrate the proficiency, perseverance, and dedication required by 20-3-110, MCA.


AUTH: 20-3-110, MCA

IMP: 20-3-110, MCA


REASON: The proposed rule would set standards for eligibility and qualifications for a state diploma, as required by the new legislation in 20-3-110, MCA.


4. Concerned persons may submit their data, views, or arguments concerning the proposed action in writing to:  Brian O'Leary, Office of Public Instruction, 1227 11th Avenue, Helena, Montana, 59601; telephone (406) 444-3559; fax (406) 444- 444-2893; or e-mail brian.o'leary@mt.gov, and must be received no later than 5:00 p.m., May 13, 2022.


5. If persons who are directly affected by the proposed action wish to express their data, views, or arguments orally or in writing at a public hearing, they must make written request for a hearing and submit this request along with any written comments to Brian O'Leary at the above address no later than 5:00 p.m., May 13, 2022.


6. If the agency receives requests for a public hearing on the proposed action from either 10 percent or 25, whichever is less, of the persons directly affected by the proposed action; from the appropriate administrative rule review committee of the Legislature; from a governmental subdivision or agency; or from an association having not less than 25 members who will be directly affected, a hearing will be held at a later date. Notice of the hearing will be published in the Montana Administrative Register.  Ten percent of those directly affected has been determined to be 11 persons based on an estimated 110 eligible candidates for a state diploma in 2022.


7. OPI maintains a list of interested persons who wish to receive notices of rulemaking actions proposed by this agency. Persons who wish to have their name added to the list shall make a written request that includes the name, e-mail, and mailing address of the person to receive notices and specifies for which program the person wishes to receive notices. Notices will be sent by e-mail unless a mailing preference is noted in the request.  Such written request may be mailed or delivered to the contact person in paragraph 4 above or may be made by completing a request form at any rules hearing held by OPI.


8. An electronic copy of this proposal notice is available through the Secretary of State's web site at http://sosmt.gov/ARM/Register.


9. The bill sponsor contact requirements of 2-4-302, MCA, apply and have been fulfilled. The primary bill sponsor was contacted by e-mail on April 4, 2022.


10. With regard to the requirements of 2-4-111, MCA, the OPI has determined that the adoption of the above-referenced rule will not significantly and directly impact small businesses.



/s/ Robert Stutz                                           /s/ Elsie Arntzen                             

Robert Stutz                                                Elsie Arntzen

Rule Reviewer                                             Superintendent of Public Instruction

                                                                     Office of Public Instruction


Certified to the Secretary of State April 5, 2022.



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