Lawmakers move bills to help rural schools attract teachers

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HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana lawmakers are moving forward with bills to help rural schools attract and retain teachers and offer ways to improve school safety.

The Senate on Tuesday endorsed a bill to allow rural schools to hire a school marshal and set training standards. The bill was supported 29-21 and assigned to the Senate Finance Committee to consider its costs. It has passed the House.

On Monday, the Senate passed a bill setting aside $500,000 a year for rural schools with critical teacher shortages to offer a student loan repayment program to attract new teachers.

Another bill moving would allow schools with 120 or fewer students to hire retired teachers to fill critical spots while continuing to draw their full retirement pay. It passed the House last week with amendments and goes back to the Senate.

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