Author

Keila Szpaller

Keila Szpaller

Keila Szpaller is deputy editor of the Daily Montanan and covers education. In Montana since 1998, she loves hiking in Glacier National Park, wandering the grounds of the Archie Bray and sitting on her front porch with friends. Before joining States Newsroom Montana, she served as city editor of the Missoulian, the largest news outlet in western Montana. She worked there from 2006 to 2020. As a Missoulian reporter, she was named a co-fellow by the Education Writers Association to report on a series about economic mobility; grantee of the Society of Environmental Journalists for a project on conservation from the U.S. to Africa; and Kiplinger Fellow in Digital Media and Public Affairs Journalism. She previously worked at the Great Falls Tribune and Missoula Independent, and she earned her master’s in journalism from the University of Montana. She lives in Missoula with her husband, Brock, who is also her favorite chef, and her pup, Henry, who is her favorite adventure companion. She believes she deserves to wear the T-shirt with this saying: “World’s most mediocre runner.”

Menegat: ‘It’s been every man for himself’

By: - March 7, 2021

Susie Menegat misses hugging her son, and she used to enjoy tickling the ivories in the afternoons while her husband, Lan, cooked dinner. Menegat, 77, had learned Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” and Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind,” but she hasn’t played much in recent months. “I realize I will never be a good piano […]

COMMENTARY

Here’s how we’re faring through the pandemic

By: - March 7, 2021

The snow crunched under our skis along the Going-to-the-Sun Road last week, and at times, the images of Mount Vaught and Mount Cannon on a still Lake McDonald showed perfect twin reflections. A chubby dipper bounced with vigor in the lake. I peeled off my coat and long sleeve shirt, and my friend and I […]

House takes up bills on computer programming, vaccination, students with disabilities

By: - February 26, 2021

On Thursday, the Montana House killed an education bill to include software programming in schools, legislation pushed in committee by the Governor’s Office. “This specifically goes with our governor’s Comeback Plan,” said Rep. Scot Kerns, R-Great Falls, in his introduction to the bill on the floor. But House Bill 185 died on an 82-18 vote, […]

House Ed Committee passes Pledge of Allegiance requirement

By: - February 25, 2021

Rep. Bob Phalen’s bill that tells school trustees to make sure students grades three through 12 “receive instruction about the United States Constitution and the Pledge of Allegiance” got a green light Wednesday in the House Education Committee. “We owe it to each generation to teach in public schools what it means to be an […]

Bill to limit absentee ballots tabled

By: - February 24, 2021

A bill to place significant restrictions on absentee voting was tabled Tuesday in committee — and vocally slaughtered by a couple of lawmakers. “This bill is just probably the worst bill I’ve seen all session if you want the truth of the matter,” said Rep. Geraldine Custer, R-Forsyth. “It just needs to die.” The bill […]

Bill aims to place sideboards on recreational marijuana

By: - February 24, 2021

Glenn Broughton grew his medical marijuana business from a small storage shed to an operation that employees nearly 30 people, and if he’s shut down, he said he’ll go bankrupt. “I’ve never been so scared in my life of what is going to happen to me at a pen-stroke,” said Broughton, who operates in Missoula, […]

Bill that would allow children to attend school without vaccination squeaks by in committee

By: - February 24, 2021

A bill that would change the definition of “immunity” for school attendance and allow children to go to school without vaccines squeaked through the House Education Committee on a 9-8 vote this week. “I’m a strong proponent of choice, and ultimately, this bill provides a choice,” said Rep. Scot Kerns, R-Great Falls. Chair Rep. Seth […]

Bill to limit absentee ballot voting heard

By: - February 22, 2021

Voters won’t be able to receive absentee ballots at Post Office boxes anymore if House Bill 455 passes, just one problem with it among many raised Monday by the Montana Association of Clerk and Recorders, Election Administrators. Rep. Tyson Running Wolf, D-Browning, wondered if the main proponent of the bill, Tony Rausch, knew how it […]

Bullock’s Board of Public Ed appointments out

By: - February 21, 2021

In a departure from tradition, neither of former Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock’s appointments to the Montana Board of Public Education held onto their seats during the 2021 Montana Legislature. Sharon Carroll, who served on the board for 14 years, submitted her resignation before the Senate Education and Cultural Resources Committee took up her confirmation last […]

Bill removes degree requirement for superintendent

By: - February 19, 2021

Rep. David Bedey, R-Hamilton, took heat this week for proposing the Superintendent of Public Instruction shouldn’t need a bachelor’s degree for the job. Dennis Parmam, head of the Montana Rural Education Association, said he worked in the Office of Public Instruction for seven years, directly for a superintendent making thousands of decisions in that time. […]

Gianforte signs permitless carry bill

By: - February 18, 2021

Gov. Greg Gianforte signed Thursday legislation that greatly increases the places in Montana where people can carry concealed firearms without permits. “Every law-abiding Montanan should be able to defend themselves and their loved ones,” Gianforte said at the signing ceremony. “That’s why today I’m signing HB102 into law.” The governor said Montanans deserve the right […]

Bill would allow children to attend school without vaccines

By: - February 17, 2021

Wednesday, members of the medical and scientific community blasted a bill that would allow children to attend school without being vaccinated. They repeated concerns —this is a dangerous bill; it puts the public at risk; this is highly concerning — as they challenged a move to expand the definition of immunization to include immunotherapy or […]