Eleven months into Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s first year on the job in 2005,
a panel of lawmakers tasked with fixing Montana’s broken, unconstitutional
school funding system crashed and burned.
The full Legislature also failed earlier that year to craft a solution, leaving key
education players angry and disappointed with the Schweitzer administration,
over the funding and other education issues.
But late that year, Schweitzer reached out to some of those players,
hammered out a $225 million package behind closed doors, called a special
session of the Legislature and rammed through the deal in just two days.
“We just announced a special session, handed them the plan and said,
‘Let’s get this done,’ ” Schweitzer recalled in an interview last week. “If you allow
the can to get kicked down the road, you’ll never get a solution.”