20-5-320. Attendance with discretionary approval. (1) A child may be enrolled in and attend a school in a Montana school district that is outside of the child's district of residence or a public school in a district of another state or province that is adjacent to the county of the child's residence, subject to discretionary approval by the trustees of the resident district and the district of choice. If the trustees grant discretionary approval of the child's attendance in a school of the district, the parent or guardian may be charged tuition and may be charged for transportation.
(2) (a) Whenever a parent or guardian of a child wishes to have the child attend a school under the provisions of this section, the parent or guardian shall apply to the trustees of the district where the child wishes to attend. The application must be made on an out-of-district attendance agreement form supplied by the district and developed by the superintendent of public instruction.
(b) The attendance agreement must set forth the financial obligations, if any, for tuition and for costs incurred for transporting the child under Title 20, chapter 10.
(c) (i) The trustees of the district of choice may waive any or all of the tuition rate. The trustees of the district of choice may waive the tuition for all students whose tuition is required to be paid by one type of entity and may charge tuition for all students whose tuition is required to be paid by another type of entity. However, any waiver of tuition must be applied equally to all students whose tuition is paid by the same type of entity.
(ii) As used in this subsection (2)(c), "entity" means a parent or guardian or the trustees of the district of residence.
(3) An out-of-district attendance agreement approved under this section requires that the parent or guardian initiate the request for an out-of-district attendance agreement and that the trustees of both the district of residence and the district of choice approve the agreement.
(4) If the trustees of the district of choice waive tuition, approval of the resident district trustees is not required.
(5) The trustees of a school district may approve or disapprove the out-of-district attendance agreement consistent with this part and the policy adopted by the local board of trustees for out-of-district attendance agreements.
(6) The approval of an out-of-district attendance agreement by the applicable approval agents or as the result of an appeal must authorize the child named in the agreement to enroll in and attend the school named in the agreement for the designated school year.
(7) The trustees of the district where the child wishes to attend have the discretion to approve any attendance agreement.
(8) This section does not preclude the trustees of a district from approving an attendance agreement for educational program offerings not provided by the resident district, such as the kindergarten or grades 7 and 8 programs, if the trustees of both districts agree to the terms and conditions for attendance and any tuition and transportation requirement. For purposes of this subsection, the trustees of the resident district shall initiate the out-of-district agreement.
(9) (a) A provision of this title may not be construed to deny a parent or guardian the right to send a child, at personal expense, to any school of a district other than the resident district when the trustees of the district of choice have approved an out-of-district attendance agreement and the parent or guardian has agreed to pay the tuition as prescribed by 20-5-323. However, under this subsection (9), the tuition rate must be reduced by the amount that the parent or guardian of the child paid in district property taxes during the immediately preceding school fiscal year for the benefit and support of the district in which the child will attend school.
(b) For the purposes of this section, "parent or guardian" includes an individual shareholder of a domestic corporation [as defined in 35-1-113] whose shares are 95% held by related family members to the sixth degree of consanguinity or by marriage to the sixth degree of affinity.
(c) The tax amount to be credited to reduce any tuition charge to a parent or guardian under subsection (9)(a) is determined in the following manner:
(i) determine the percentage of the total shares of the corporation held by the shareholder parent or parents or guardian;
(ii) determine the portion of property taxes paid in the preceding school fiscal year by the corporation, parent, or guardian for the benefit and support of the district in which the child will attend school.
(d) The percentage of total shares as determined in subsection (9)(c)(i) is the percentage of taxes paid as determined in subsection (9)(c)(ii) that is to be credited to reduce the tuition charge.
(10) As used in 20-5-320 through 20-5-324, the term "guardian" means the guardian of a minor as provided in Title 72, chapter 5, part 2. (Bracketed language in subsection (9)(b) deleted effective June 1, 2020--sec. 274, Ch. 271, L. 2019.)