MISSOULA – The Montana House has passed a bill to create a charter school system for the state.

The House approved the measure 55-44 Monday. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.

The bill by Democratic Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy of Box Elder would allow a school district to request a charter school if 20 percent of voters there petition for one.

The schools would not be subject to the state Board of Public Education's supervision or to accreditation standards. They would be overseen by a new commission.

Supporters include House Speaker Austin Knudsen. The Culbertson Republican says people have choices in just about every facet of their lives except for education.

Opponents say they are concerned by the schools' lack of accountability to school boards and that they would take money away from public schools.

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