At a recent meeting in Washington, D.C., Montana Senator Jon Tester welcomed students from across Montana as well as educators to commemorate National Public Schools Week by proposing two bills.

“The first is called ‘The IDEA Full-Funding Act’,” began Tester. “IDEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act’ was passed about 40 years ago, but they left out one important feature, it didn’t include funding. It was meant to be funded at 40 percent, but last year it was funded at just 16 percent. This bill would require the federal government to do what they promised and put the money in the bill.”

The second bill deals with nurses in public schools.

“The second bill is called ‘The Nurse Act’,” he said. “This will help rural and underserved schools hire school nurses. Right now, only 39 percent of our nation’s public schools are able to fund a full-time school nurse, and fully one quarter of our schools have no nurse at all. His bill would authorize a grant program to help schools. The state agency would cover the cost of hiring school nurses giving priority to the schools with a high rate of low income students or those that have no nurses at all.”

Tester said he was a school teacher for a few years prior to entering politics, and many members of his family were or still are public school teachers.