The Montana Department of Revenue is defending its exclusion of religious schools from the state's School Choice program.

Last month a Flathead County District Court judge issued a temporary injunction against the state and suggested the Revenue Department likely overstepped its authority in excluding religious schools as a "qualified education provider" under Montana's School Choice program.

The state filed its response on Thursday. Meanwhile, an attorney for three Montana mothers who sued the state last year was preparing to file a motion Friday asking the judge to immediately rule in their favor. The parents want the court to invalidate a state rule that denies tax credits for donations to private scholarship funds that are used at faith-based schools.

The School Choice Program offers tax credits of up to $150 for donations.

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