The first of a set of three Office of Public Instruction debates between Republican Sandy Welch and Democrat Denise Juneau was set to occur on Tuesday, August 21 at Missoula's Sentinel High School.

Sandy Welch issued the following comment after the debate was canceled:

"Juneau talks about accountability, but I don’t think she gets it,” Welch said. “Accountability means showing up no matter the situation. Accountability is lacking in nearly every government agency we can think of; it’s disturbing that the superintendent of our children’s public instruction won’t show up to discuss the state of education in Montana.”

Welch will be giving a presentation at Sentinel High School at 2 p.m. on Aug. 21. The Missoula Education Foundation, has agreed to sponsor a rescheduled debate in early September. But it is still unclear if Juneau will agree to the date.

Denise Juneau's campaign says that they turned down the debate because the Welch campaign was not able to confirm a moderator, a time frame, or a debate format.

Juneau campaign spokeswoman Alex Corcoran said "Denise has a record of increasing test scores, decreasing the dropout rate and preparing students for the jobs of today and tomorrow. We're certain that there will be plenty of opportunity for voters to compare Juneau's accomplishments with Welch's efforts to turn back progress on public education."