Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Montana’s two term Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen issued a strong reaction to the Education Interim Budget Committee’s on how she and her staff are implementing legislation.

Arntzen responded to an article in the Montana Free Press that criticized Arntzen’s failure to appear before the committee at a recent meeting to hear their complaints, which included comments from Bonner School Superintendent Jim Howard.

She referred to the complaints as coming from ‘schoolyard bullies’.

Arntzen says Complaints are Coming from 'Schoolyard Bullies'

“I believe they are schoolyard bullies,” began Arntzen. “We're in our beautiful state house at the Capitol, and they didn't ever reach out to me and ask me any questions or come to any of our meetings that we have weekly with superintendents. I don't know if they read any of our guidance that I send out to legislators monthly regarding all of the pieces of legislation because they get a newsletter specifically from me.”

Arntzen responded to complains of resignations within her department by stating that she instituted a ‘work from home’ option, which many employees prefer.

READ MORE: Arntzen Speaks Out on Failed Book Challenge in Montana

Arntzen said Telework has Helped to Save the Taxpayers Money

“We instituted with the union that we have a tele-work policy,” she said. “Right now I have our agency with 54 people in one building rather than four. I've given back the other buildings to the state, saving taxpayer dollars for sure. Along the way, I believe our pathway forward in conservative government has been shown through the tele-work policy and our staff is happy and I believe they're serving our children and our school leaders.”

Arntzen explained her reasoning on why she refused to attend the meeting.

Arntzen said the Meeting was Going to be a 'Witch Hunt'

“I believe that it was going to be a witch hunt, and it was going to be like a kangaroo court. So why would I, as a constitutional officer, attend anything that was going to be so negative? There was nothing on the agenda for me to necessarily attend to, and my schedule was planned out a month and a half ago. I just recognized that my great staff here at the Office of Public Instruction could amply give the information that was desired by both the policy and the budget committee.”

Arntzen again made her feelings known about the purpose of the meeting.

“What else could it be? I mean, its political persecution, and definitely could call it a kangaroo court,” she said. If you would, call it a witch hunt. Why would a targeted group of individuals that are very left leaning Republicans side with the other side of the aisle, to besmirch the great people that work here at the Office of Public Instruction?”

Arntzen has termed out of the Superintendent position and has filed to run for Congress.

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