State schools' candidate campaigns in town

On Friday, Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Democrat candidate Melissa Romano was in Miles City visiting with locals on public schools and her platform.

Romano is focussing on three main ideas for her campaign. 

According to Romano her first focus is public preschool.

“I am advocating for public preschool for four-year-olds,” said Romano. “I did teach kindergarten for a year. I was able to see first hand what it looked like when kids came into school ready to learn and when they came to school and they weren’t ready to learn.”

According to Romano there has been research into public preschool for 4-year-olds. The research has shown that those children are more likely to read on time, be ready to learn and even graduate high school.

“I do believe if we want to continue the upward trend of graduation we need to invest in our children. Invest in them now, invest in them early through public preschool,” said Romano. “Investing in our children today will lead to a stronger economy tomorrow.”

Her second focus is on advocating for adequate funding for public schools from the state.

“Adequate funding to me means an inflationary increase across the board, including special education,” said Romano.

She would like to create less of a burden on local tax payers. This would also mean supporting 19-year-olds, supporting students in special education, regular classroom students and the gifted and talented. 

“Every single child regardless of where they live, or how much money their parents make will have the tools they need to learn,” said Romano.

According to Romano, in 2013 Senate Bill 75 placed inflationary increases in spending in all areas except for special education. 

“I’m looking to make sure we get an inflationary increase bill for special education,” said Romano.

Her third focus is improving school district’s infrastructure. 

About 70 percent of school buildings that were built before 1970 and almost every single district in Montana is in need of some sort of major repair or construction project Romano said. 

In 2011 the legislature stripped funding away that helped low wealth districts with debt repayment. She is looking to restore that funding. 

I want to create safe, working environments for students,” said Romano. “I am dedicated to improving the public education system in Montana. I believe in public schools and our public school teachers.” 

Romano is running against Republican Elsie Arntzen from Billings who is a former teacher. 

“My opponent poses a serious threat to our public school system. She has voted against supporting that early education program, voted against increasing funding for public schools and school children, is devoted to repeal common core standards, and she’s voted for bills for charter schools, tax credit vouchers that would eventually funnel money away from our public schools and children,” said Romano.

Until June 10 of this year Romano was a fourth grade math teacher in Helena. Before fourth grade she taught kindergarten for a year and has taught second grade.

She earned her bachelors in science and her master in elementary education from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut. She is a certified elementary school teacher.

She lives with her husband and four children in Helena where she grew up.

When she isn’t campaigning she likes to spend time with her family. They like to hike, camp and tour Montana together. She is also an avid runner and photographer.