Montana school administrator cited for illegally passing a bus

HELENA — Montana’s top schools administrator has been cited for illegally passing a school bus while it was stopped to pick up students from a residential development last week, even though video of the incident “does not show the license plate of the vehicle involved”. his office said Friday.

Helena Police Lt. Jayson Zander said Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen was cited Thursday after speaking with an officer.

According to the police report, an East Helena bus driver said a vehicle driven by Arntzen overtook his bus as he was stopped to pick up children just after 7:30 a.m. on May 19 in the subdivision of Mountain View Meadows.

The bus driver recognized Arntzen and recorded the license plate number on the red van.

“Superintendent Arntzen has no recollection of the alleged incident,” Brian O’Leary, a spokesman for the Office of Public Instruction, said in a statement Thursday. “She recognizes that she drives a red van and lives in the area.”

On Friday, Arntzen’s office sent out a statement saying she would be cited and thanking the bus driver for his vigilance.

Arntzen testified in support of a bill passed by the 2021 Legislature to improve bus safety, including doubling the fine for illegally overtaking a school bus to a maximum of $1,000.

Martha K. Merrill