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.”

Panelists: Housing crisis hamstrings economic growth in Montana

By: - March 20, 2022

The lack of housing in Montana is stifling economic development because potential employees can’t find places to live, so even businesses that offer high salaries and want to expand can’t grow. That’s according to a couple of panelists who presented this week as part of a housing affordability panel to the Local Government Committee of […]

University of Montana professor who made racist remarks out for semester

By: - March 17, 2022

An embattled University of Montana business professor will not be teaching the rest of the semester — although he remains employed — after students called for him to resign or be fired for racist remarks he made in private communications. The Montana Kaimin first reported Professor Clayton Looney’s temporary leave. UM confirmed Looney made the […]

Montana organizations push back against tax cap initiative

By: - March 16, 2022

“Decline to sign.” That’s the phrase several members of the public used Wednesday at a Local Government Committee update on Constitutional Initiative 121, a property tax cap measure intended for the ballot. It’s currently in the signature gathering phase. “We’ll be encouraging folks not to sign, to stop this in its tracks,” said Diane Fladmo, […]

Key elections systems testing to take place in 2022

By: - March 16, 2022

The elections director for the Montana Secretary of State’s Office said Wednesday that a key test county officials had called for before the state moves to a new elections management system will take place in 2022. “If we see issues or things that need some correction, we’ll get those addressed and fixed,” said Dana Corson, […]

Montana Health Department reduces number of children in state care

By: - March 15, 2022

The State of Montana has reduced the number of children in foster care by nearly 25 percent, or 990 children, since a legislative audit from 2019 counted some of the highest numbers in history, according to a report Tuesday from the Department of Public Health and Human Services. In fact, Erica Johnston, executive director with […]

Nonprofit, 60 partners: Montana might leave $36.6M to feed children untapped

By: - March 14, 2022

The State of Montana may be leaving $36.6 million for hungry children on the table — for summer 2022 alone — if it does not submit a plan to receive another round of Pandemic EBT benefits from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to a March 11 letter to Gov. Greg Gianforte and state Health […]

Montana Board of Regents greenlight facility requests, hear student concerns

By: - March 12, 2022

The Montana University System will be holding back a total $2.4 million in performance funding from eight of 12 campuses in fiscal year 2023 because they haven’t hit graduation and retention targets, according to a presentation this week to the Board of Regents. “Historically, lots of campuses reached 100 percent or close, and it’s clearly […]

Report: Montanans say state overcrowded with tourists

By: - March 10, 2022

Tourists are wearing out their welcome in Montana — but Montanans still appreciate their money. That’s according to a recent report by the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research called “Montana Residents: Attitudes Towards Tourism 2021.” Among other things, the report found that for the first time since 1992 when the Institute started collecting information, most […]

Gallatin County judge denies motion to dismiss higher ed lawsuit

By: - March 9, 2022

Students, a faculty group and other plaintiffs have shown a real — and not just hypothetical — threat of harm from four laws passed by the 2021 Montana Legislature, so a judge won’t toss the case. “Plaintiffs challenge the State Legislature’s constitutional authority to legislate university affairs and intra-campus activities,” said the March 4 order […]

Judges order new Public Service Commission map, find 2003 map unconstitutional

By: - March 8, 2022

Some Montana voters will find themselves in new districts this year for the Montana Public Service Commission elections following an order Tuesday from a judge panel for the U.S. District Court in Montana. Populations in the five districts have been cattywampus, and plaintiffs including former Secretary of State Bob Brown sued current Secretary of State […]

Gianforte Family Foundation to give $50M to MSU

By: - March 8, 2022

A $50 million gift from the Gianforte Family Foundation to Montana State University is on the Board of Regents agenda this week as an information item, and the campus is taking input on naming a new computer sciences building Gianforte Hall prior to submitting a proposal for the Regents to consider in May. Gov. Greg […]

Public Service Commission allows second garbage service in Missoula County

By: - March 7, 2022

Republic Services of Montana won’t have a monopoly on garbage service in Missoula County anymore. After hearing garbage customers complain about their bills and customer service, the Montana Public Service Commission voted 3-2 on Thursday to allow a new trash hauling company to operate in Missoula County. “Despite numerous (customer) complaints, Republic downplayed them as […]