JC/DC ACTION ALERT: Voucher Tax Credits & Charter School Expansion

Time sensitive action needed!  Please contact your Senators and House Representatives now and ask them to OPPOSE SB 160 & SB 292!

Missouri PTA is opposed to SB 160 (voucher tax credits) and SB 292(expand Charter Schools in Missouri without proper oversight or accountability).  We have been informed that it is likely either SB 160 or SB 292 will be brought to the Senate floor for debate this week.  Senator Caleb Rowden (R – Columbia), the Majority Floor Leader of the Senate, confirmed that either voucher tax credits or charter expansion would be debated this week!

If you have already emailed your Senators, THANK YOU!  Now, we need for you to connect once again!  Missouri PTA advocates are called to continue to follow-up with their senators even after they have voiced opposition.  Make sure your senators understand that you are paying attention and that these issues are important to you!

ACTION NEEDED: PLEASE CALL OR E-MAIL and urge your State Senator and State Representative to oppose the charter school expansion bills.

Dear Senator,

As a community, we prioritize the education standards of our kids. We have evaluation standards that must be met for public schools to remain accredited.  SB 292 allows for the formation of charter schools in any district in the state. Under this bill, these schools could be controlled by non-public organizations and sponsored by outside entities. These schools would not have to be held to the same evaluation standards non-charter public schools are held. This would allow for the potential for children to not have the quality of education they receive in Missouri public schools. Missouri PTA is not against charter schools when they are under the control nonprofit organizations not affiliated with non-public sectarian, religious, or home-based school organizations of the local school district with the same standards as public schools. SB 292 fails to meet this requirement.

SB 160 – The Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Program – is not good for students and parents, taxpayers and Missouri’s public schools for the following reasons:

It is an irresponsible expansion of tax credits when the state is facing massive shortfalls in the current budget.

This is a voucher in a bad disguise.  This bill attempts to funnel public funds to private schools and home schools.  It also allows these funds to be spent on for-profit schools, including virtual schools, with no oversight.

Lack of financial oversight of the schools receiving the funds. There is no accountability required of the schools receiving these funds.

Lack of educational oversight of the schools receiving the funds. These schools are not required to administer the MAP, identify or educate students with disabilities, or be accredited by any organization.   Missouri tax dollars will be spent for students to be taught by teachers without certification or the specialized knowledge to identify learning disabilities, dyslexia, etc.   The teachers and education providers receiving the funds are not even required to undergo a criminal background check.  Missouri tax dollars could be spent on services and therapies that are not educationally sound.  The bill states that a school “shall not be required to alter its creed, practices, admissions policy, or curriculum in order to accept students” under a scholarship, which means students with disabilities could be denied enrollment and students with disabilities can be refused specialized education.  Schools could deny enrollment based on economic status or grades.

Expands education beyond the age of 21.  Unlike free public education, which expires once the student turns 21 or graduates high school, parents and students may continue to receive these scholarships indefinitely as long as the student does not complete high school or passes a test for admission to college. 166.705.2

 

Please oppose SB 292 and SB 160 by voting no.

 

Sincerely,

 

Your name and PTA

 

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Kristina Wilmoth

Vice President & Director of Legislation and Advocacy

KristinaW@mopta.org

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