JC/DC ACTION ALERT: SB 32 – MO Empowerment Scholarships Account Program

****COMMITTEE VOTE SOON*** Please CALL your Senators now!

 

SB 32 would establish the Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Program

The Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Program is a particular concern for PTA because this program would create an account that would allow taxpayers to may make a qualifying contribution to an educational assistance organization and claim a tax credit, as described in the act. 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.

 

Missouri PTA encourages you to CALL your Senators office now and let them know your feelings on this bill.

 

When you call here are some talking points to discuss with their office:

 

Begin the call by thanking them for their time; give them your name and PTA Unit.

 

The Empowerment Scholarship Account is not good for students and parents, taxpayers and Missouri’s public schools for the following reasons:

 

  • 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 is not about choice but about killing public education as we know it, with no assurances that education will be delivered at all.
  • Lack of financial oversight of the schools receiving the funds these organizations could be for- profit institutions designed to take money directly from school students that could deliver no education but profit at the expense of Missouri taxpayers.
  • Expands education beyond the age of 21as long as the student has not completed high school.

 

This bill is not about choice but about killing public education as we know it, with no assurances that education will be delivered at all.  Please vote NO on SB 32.

 

Take a few moments to call now public education in Missouri depends on it!!

 

Thank you,

Carla Wiese

VP and Director of Legislation and Advocacy

Missouri PTA

 

 


JC/DC ACTION ALERT: MO Empowerment Scholarships Account Program

****HEARING TODAY*** Please contact your Senators now!
SB 32 has been placed on the Senate calendar.
SB 32 would establish the Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Program
The Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Program is a particular concern for PTA because this program would create an account that would allow taxpayers to may make a qualifying contribution to an educational assistance organization and claim a tax credit, as described in the act. 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.
Missouri PTA encourages you to send emails to your Senators but also to directly call their office and let them know your feelings on this bill.
Dear Senators,
The Empowerment Scholarship Account is not good for students and parents, taxpayers and Missouri’s public schools for the following reasons:
Irresponsible expansion of tax credits when the state is facing massive shortfalls in the current budget. The Governor indicated in his State of the State address that he is opposed to the expansion of tax credits, particularly given the shortfalls in the budget. Every tax dollar the state loses through a tax credit reduces the treasury further. This bill would allow for $25 million less per year, when approximately $9 million was withheld from K-12 a mere two weeks ago.
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. This bill is not about seeking quality education for students. This bill is not about choice but about killing public education as we know it, with no assurances that education will be delivered at all.
Lack of financial oversight of the schools receiving the funds. There is no accountability required of the schools receiving these funds. These entities are not required to be located in Missouri or governed by Missouri residents. These entities can be for-profit institutions created solely to earn money off of the backs of Missouri students. They could be fly-by-night organizations that deliver no actual education, but profit at the expense of Missouri taxpayers.

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 32 by voting no.
Sincerely,
You name and PTA
Not sure how to contact your state legislators? Click here and insert your street address or 9-digit zip code.

Carla Wiese
Vice President & Director of Legislation and Advocacy
carlaw@mopta.org


JC/DC Alert: Family Engagement Center Funding

Family Engagement Centers – The newly enacted Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) includes the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFEC) program, which provides competitive federal grants to statewide organizations to promote and implement evidenced-based family engagement strategies. If the SFEC program is funded, applications for these competitive grants can be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education by statewide organizations such as non-profits or by groups of statewide organizations that have demonstrated involvement in engaging families in their child’s education and experience working with state-level agencies, communities, organizations and schools on family engagement policies and practices. Unfortunately, neither the House nor Senate included this important line item in their annual budget. It is not to late to have this key item funded but to accomplish our request we need to make our voices heard. PTA is asking Congress to Pass the 2017 Omnibus bill that would fully fund these important centers.  Please take a few moments to send a letter to our members of Congress. You can quickly send your letter by clicking here.

 

Thank you,

Carla Wiese

VP and Director of Legislation and Advocacy


JC/DC ACTION ALERT: SB 641 and SB 1025

****DO NOT OVERRIDE VETO*** Please contact your Legislators now!

SB 641 has been placed on the calendar for a potential override of the veto given by Governor Nixon.

SB 641 would allow compensation in the form of tax deductions to agricultural producers who have suffered loss due to disaster or emergency. This bill would allow retroactive payments dating back to 2014.

SB 1025 has been placed on the calendar for a potential override of the veto given by Governor Nixon.

SB 1025 would allow recreational classes to avoid the current 4% sales tax.

If the veto is overridden on SB 641 it could cost education and other vital programs up to 50 million dollars in tax retributions. SB 1025 would also cost these programs up to an additional 8 million dollars. If these are bills effectively overridden and passed into law the budget that has already been passed by the Missouri Legislature and approved by Governor Nixon will not longer be balanced. The gaps in funding created by these would further cause the funding for education in both elementary, secondary and college to be drastically cut. This comes at a time when many school districts across the state are struggling to fund education. As you know, Missouri ended the 2016 budget year on June 30th with general revenue collections well below the estimate. Decreased revenue then prompted the Governor to restrict state spending for critical services including for early education, k-12 schools transportation, programs for Missourians with disabilities and more. (The list of budget restrictions is available here: http://oa.mo.gov/sites/default/files/FY_2017_Expenditure_Restrictions_07_06_16.pdf).  Adding addition decrease in fund from either SB 641 or SB 1025 would increase these deficits.

 

To put this into perspective MO Budget Project just released the following information:

**In addition, MBP just released an analysis of the implications of the drop in revenue for the new budget year (FY 2017, which began on July 1st). What we’ve found:

  • Because of the FY 2016 general revenue shortfall, revenue needs to grow about 5 percentin the new budget year in order to fully fund the FY 2017 state budget approved by lawmakers. The amount of needed growth is far above the budgeted projection of 4.1 percent.
  • If state revenue grows at the lower, projected rate of 4.1 percent, Missouri will face a $216 million budget shortfall for the current fiscal year.
  • Should the legislature choose to override the Governor’s vetoes of further tax reductions passed in the 2016 legislative session, the budget will be further strained.

 

Dear Senator,

As a community we prioritize the education of our children. Please vote NO to the override to SB 641 and SB 1025. With the passage of either of these bills vital programs will have to be cut to fund the tax decreases. As you know, Missouri ended the 2016 budget year on June 30th with general revenue collections well below the estimate. Decreased revenue then prompted the Governor to restrict state spending for critical services including for early education, k-12 schools transportation, programs for Missourians with disabilities and more. Adding addition decrease in fund from either SB 641 or SB 1025 would increase these deficits. We ask that you do not do this on the backs of schools and districts that are already struggling with funding due to massive budget cuts federally within the Department of Education. We have watched other states struggle to fund their school and the damage to children this has caused. Please do not pass these and allow for the budget you passed and Governor Nixon approved to stand. Do this for the future, do this for our children!

 

Sincerely,

You name and PTA

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

Carla Wiese

Vice President & Director of Legislation and Advocacy

carlaw@mopta.org


JC/DC Action Alert – Family Engagement Center Funding

JC/DC Alert: Family Engagement Center Funding 

Family Engagement Centers – The newly enacted Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) includes the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFEC) program, which provides competitive federal grants to statewide organizations to promote and implement evidenced-based family engagement strategies. If the SFEC program is funded, applications for these competitive grants can be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education by statewide organizations such as non-profits or by groups of statewide organizations that have demonstrated involvement in engaging families in their child’s education and experience working with state-level agencies, communities, organizations and schools on family engagement policies and practices. Unfortunately, neither the House nor Senate included this important line item in their annual budget. It is not to late to have this key item funded but to accomplish our request we need to make our voices heard. Please take a few moments to send a letter to our members of Congress. You can quickly send your letter by clicking here.

 

Thank you,

Carla Wiese

VP and Director of Legislation and Advocacy