JCDC Action Alert: Urgent Action Needed – HB 543

We OPPOSE Open Enrollment Legislation

HB 543 Brad Pollitt

Missouri PTA is opposed to bills that would establish an open enrollment program in Missouri. While the bill allows districts to decide whether they want to participate in the open enrollment program, it should be known that nothing in the bill precludes a student from leaving their resident district. To be clear, if District A decides not to participate in the open enrollment program, that does not mean that a student from District A cannot leave to attend another public school, District B, that is accepting students under the open enrollment program. Thus, every school district can be impacted by this bill.
Missouri PTA is opposed to open enrollment legislation for the following reasons:
1) House Bill 543 will lead to school consolidation.
2) Funding Concerns.
3) Less Money in the Classroom.
4) Financial Planning Nightmare.
5) Special Education Concerns.
6) Transportation Concerns.
7) Voluntary Status.
8) Call on the Formula

Time sensitive action needed! Please Tell your Senator to vote NO on Open Enrollment Legislation

Dear Official,
I urge you to vote “NO” on Open Enrollment Legislation. I reside in your district and understand that HB 543 filed by Rep. Pollitt was heard in the Senate Education Committee last week and is expected to be voted out this week.

A number of education groups in Missouri are opposed to open enrollment legislation for good reason. Here are just a few:

school consolidation
funding concerns
less money in the classroom
financial planning nightmare for districts
special education concerns
transportation concerns

Please vote “NO” on open enrollment legislation.

Sincerely,
Your name and PTA

Not sure how to contact your state legislators? Click here and insert your street address or 9-digit zip code.

Paula McKinney
Missouri PTA
Vice President & Director of Legislation and Advocacy
paulam@mopta.org


JC/DC Urgent Action Alert – HB 349

We OPPOSE Establishing Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Program

HB 349 Phil Cristofanelli 

Missouri PTA is opposed to bills establishing the Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Program because this program would create an account that would allow taxpayers to make a qualifying contribution to an educational assistance organization and claim a tax credit.  The tax credit is for one hundred percent of the amount of the contribution. The tax credit may be carried forward for four years and may be transferred, sold, or assigned. The scholarships will be used in private schools effectively creating a voucher system in Missouri.  

Schools eligible for Empowerment Scholarship Accounts are not required to admit all students and are allowed to exclude students with disabilities or discriminate against students based on sex, race, color, religion or national origin.

Time sensitive action is needed!  House Bill 349 will be discussed TODAY!

 Please Tell your representative to support public education and 

vote NO on HB349

Dear Representatives,

The Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Program is not good for students and parents, taxpayers and Missouri’s public schools.

As your constituent and voter, I urge you to oppose HB349.  This proposed bill will create an unchecked new tax credit program in Missouri that would allow public dollars to be used for private education, without accountability to Missouri students, parents and taxpayers.  This program creates further government bureaucracy taking vital education dollars out of Missouri’s public schools that educate all students and strengthen communities.  

HB349 would allow any taxpayer who makes a qualifying contribution to the Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Program to claim a tax credit equal to 50 percent of the total contribution. The tax credit voucher program would begin at $50 million per year and includes an escalator that would grow the program unchecked with no oversight by the Missouri General Assembly.  

This new voucher program would allow for the creation of nonprofit organizations that would be allowed to defer state tax dollars that would normally go to the education of all students, steering resources away from the classroom toward bureaucratic administration. 

HB349 would allow for the vouchers to be used for a number of services, including private school tuition, textbooks, tutoring services and summer education programs with no accountability or oversight from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. This new program would be overseen by the State Treasurer who is given very few tools to ensure that the programs are contributing to the success of Missouri students.

This legislation would impact every district in the state by limiting the amount of state revenue available to fund public education that serves all students across the state. Public tax dollars used to support all students’ needs including mental health access, classroom support, and highly qualified teachers must be a priority for the legislature before creating programs that would defer money away from public education.

As your constituent I believe that all students deserve equal access to a free public education. The continuation of our free nation and its strength and well-being depend on our free public schools.

Vote NO on HB349.

I appreciate you considering this information as you work to support Missouri’s students, families and communities.

Sincerely,

Your name and PTA

Not sure how to contact your state legislators? Click here and insert your street address or 9-digit zip code.

Paula McKinney
Vice President of Legislation and Advocacy 
Missouri PTA

paulam@mopta.org


JC/DC Critical Issue Alert – State Senate Grows SB 55 Harmful Education Bill

Missouri PTA needs you to contact your Senator today and tell them to support PUBLIC SCHOOLS and vote NO on SB 55!

Senate Bill is being heard on the floor again today.

Majority Floor Leader Senator Rowden changed the original language of Senate Bill 55 by adding the following dangerous provisions –

  • Allows non-resident students to attend charter schools at the expense of the resident district.
  • Charter school funding amendments could create an unfair distribution of funding between charter schools and the school districts they are located in, with no additional accountability required of the charter school.
  • Requiring the accreditation of school buildings with the bottom 10% automatically unaccredited and the bottom 25% provisionally accredited. These buildings are required to adopt plans in conjunction with a “partner” (e.g. Opportunity Trust or others funded by out-of-state interests). Buildings that do not improve are required to consider implementing charter schools. (Similar to House Bill 942)
  • MOCAP expansion (see below) has been amended to guarantee that the for-profit vendors get paid immediately and are less accountable for academic results. It adds more requirements for school districts to advertise the MOCAP program, but limits what districts can share with parents and students regarding the MOCAP options.
  • Mandates reading instruction plans and prescriptive reading interventions, taking professional educators out of the process.
  • Requires districts that do not provide in-person instruction due to COVID-19 to make up the school days, beginning in 2021-22.
  • Requires districts to allow parents to record 504 and IEP meetings.

SB 55 is now a mega bill that still includes these provisions that are hostile to public education.

  • School Board Member Recall: Requires an election to recall a school board member if a petition is submitted signed by at least 25% of the number of voters in the last school board election.
  • Education Scholarship Account/Vouchers: Creates up to $100 million in tax credits for donations to an organization that gives out scholarships for students to attend a home school or private school – including for-profit virtual schools.
  • Charter School Expansion: Authorizes charter schools to be opened in an additional 65 school districts located in Jackson, Jefferson, St. Charles, and St. Louis counties or in cities of 30,000 or more and allows charters opened in provisionally and unaccredited districts to remain open even after the school district regains accreditation.
  • Turning MOCAP into Virtual Charter Schools: Allows students enrolling in MOCAP full time to apply directly to the vendor and cuts the resident school district and professional educators out of the process.
  • Home school students are allowed to participate in MSHSAA activities. Districts are prohibited from belonging to MSHSAA unless home schooled students are allowed to participate in district athletics and activities governed by MSHSAA.
  • Limiting State Board of Education: Restricts members of the state board of education to serve only one full term.”

Missouri PTA advocates are called to ensure your senators understand that you are paying attention and that these issues are important to you!

Please remind your Senator –

As a community, we prioritize the educational standards for all children. We have evaluation standards that must be met for public schools to remain accredited and we oppose efforts to divert funding from public education.  Those standards continue to provide accountability for our schools, quality education for all children, and access to education no matter the ability or situation a child may experience.  That standard is now at risk as this bill is being called to the Senate Floor.  As an advocate for ALL Missouri children, I am opposed to this bill as it works to remove that accountability for schools and the equity of access to a quality education for students. Please support our children and public schools by OPPOSING SB 55!

 

Not sure how to contact your state legislators? Click here and insert your street address or 9-digit zip code.

Paula McKinney
Vice President of Legislation and Advocacy 
Missouri PTA