Welcome to the Montana School Boards Association


MTSBA Services
MTSBA Services

Our Members- Elected Volunteer Trustees
Our Members- Elected Volunteer Trustees

For nearly 90 years, MTSBA has promoted and defended each Montana community's ownership of its public schools, exercised through constitutionally-empowered boards of trustees who are elected by and accountable to the communities in which they serve.   MTSBA's membership encompasses virtually all the state's locally elected boards of trustees, over 1,400 dedicated volunteer leaders in all, and our services and other resources are designed, implemented, regularly and effectively assessed and adjusted to ensure the success of G.R.E.A.T. public schools throughout Montana.

Core Purpose / Core Values
Core Purpose / Core Values

The Core Purpose of the Montana School Boards Association (MTSBA) is to maximize the potential of each child through school board leadership.

Our Core Values are:

  1. Visionary leadership In all that we do.
  2. Advocacy focused on Each child in Every public school system in Montana.
  3. Local control, community ownership, and protection of communities' rights to elected school boards governing public schools in Montana.
  4. Understanding, respecting and equitably balancing the interests of every school system in Montana.  
  5. Ensuring an alignment between standards/mandates and funding for public schools.
  6. Securing and preserving the cultural integrity Of American Indian Peoples And Tribes through education in our public schools.


The Enduring Characteristics of G.R.E.A.T.-ness provide unique assurances of excellence and accountability that cannot be matched elsewhere.  Montana's public schools are:

Governed by school boards that are subject to election: Whether you are content or unsatisfied with your public schools, the access to an elected, volunteer board of trustees is one of the best assurances of excellence a community can have. Your access to elected trustees and your corresponding right to determine who represents your interests on the school board is a constitutional guarantee afforded to Montanans under Article X, Section 8 of the Montana Constitution.

Responsive to community input: The Montana Constitution also guarantees the public’s right of input before an elected school board makes decisions of interest to you. This unique guarantee of the right of public input give you a voice in decisions that affect you and can lead to improved decision-making by our public schools.  In short, your voice provides choice – the choice to become involved, to make a difference and to help elected school boards continuously improve Montana’s public schools.

Excellent and Efficient:  From graduation rates and average scores on the ACT exam (the predominant test of college readiness in the Nation) to Montana students’ performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, Montana’s public schools provide a world-class education.  Equally important is that our public schools provide this high level of achievement at costs that are $850 per student below the national average. 

Advancing Student Achievement Through Innovation: Montana’s public schools have innovated throughout the state to meet the needs of children in each community. Open enrollment with no tuition for out of district students in a large majority of our public schools; 4 day school week programming in many of our rural schools; online learning options available to all children of the state through the Montana Digital Academy; courses taken for concurrent high school and college credit; Montessori schools; part time enrollment for home school students; and even religious instruction release time are just a few of the flexible innovations in Montana’s public schools. 

Trusted through Transparency:  Another important guarantee afforded to Montanans under the Montana Constitution is the right to openness and transparency.  Elected school boards are public agencies under the law and  Montana’s 1972 Constitution gives citizens the right to inspect public records and attend meetings of elected school boards.





2nd Annual Negotiations/Policy Symposium

2nd Annual Negotiations/Policy Symposium
Online registration is closed.  Please come to Helena and register onsite.

July 22 & 23
MTSBA Headquarters – 4th Floor

As you may recall, in order to maximize the professional development opportunities for trustees and staff leadership, and to save our members on time and travel expenses, we have combined our Strategic Negotiations and Policy Conference into 2 full-days in July.  We have discounted the fee for those who attend both days.

Day 1 (July 22nd) will be devoted to Negotiation issues and how to negotiate for student success. Day 2 (July 23rd) will be focused on School District Policy issues and how to directly link the work of the Board to student achievement.

All or a part of this Symposium is free to your District if:
•your District is a member of MTSBA’s Personnel Services Maintenance Program, your District can attend Day 1 for free;
•your District is a member of MTSBA’s Policy Maintenance Program, your District can attend Day 2 for free; 
•your District is a member of MTSBA’s Personnel Services Maintenance Program AND Policy Maintenance Program, your District attends both days free of charge.

If your District is not signed up for either our Personnel Services Maintenance Program and/or our Policy Maintenance Program, the fees are as follows:
•$125 for those who are planning on attending 1 Day only;
•$200 discounted fee for those who are planning on attending both days.


Coming Soon
Coming Soon

Coming Soon.


8 Characteristics of Effective School Boards:

1.   Commit to a vision of high expectations for student achievement and quality instruction and define clear goals toward that vision.

2.   Share strong beliefs and values about what is possible for students and their ability to learn, and of the system and its ability to teach all children at high levels.

3.   Are accountability driven, spending less time on operational issues and more time focused on policies to improve student achievement.

4.   Have a collaborative relationship with staff and the community and establish a strong communications structure to inform and engage both internal and external stakeholders in setting and achieving district goals.

5.   Are data savvy; they embrace and monitor data, even when the information is negative, and use it to drive continuous improvement.

6.    Align and sustain resources, such as professional development, to meet district goals.

7.   Lead as a united team with the superintendent, each from their respective roles, with strong collaboration and mutual trust.

8.   Take part in team development and training to build shared knowledge, values and commitments for their improvement efforts.

Additional information on the 8 Characteristics can be found on the Center For Public Education website located here.