A Montana judge says the state cannot exclude children attending religious schools from being awarded scholarships under Montana's School Choice program.

District Judge David Ortley said Thursday that the state Department of Revenue may have overstepped its authority in excluding religious schools as a "qualified education provider."

He said the state legislature did not explicitly bar such schools from the program when it passed Senate Bill 410 last year. The measure became law without Gov. Steve Bullock's signature and went into effect this year. It establishes tax credits of up to $150 for donations to private scholarship funds.

A spokeswoman for the Revenue Department says the agency is reviewing the decision and is looking at its options.