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


JC/DC Action Alert Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

Dear JC/DC members,

The U.S. Department of Education is tasked with implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  Part of its role in implementation is issuing proposed regulations and rules, guidance, technical assistance and other resource materials to support state education agencies and school districts in implementing the law.

 

A letter from National PTA addresses the Department’s request for comments on proposed regulations on ESSA for state plans, accountability systems and state and local report cards. The Department has requested feedback from interested stakeholders by Monday, August 1, 2016. National PTA submitted its comments on Friday, July 22.

 

As an individual PTA member and leader, we encourage you to submit a condensed version of the letter (there is a character limit when using the advocacy platform) through National PTA’s Take Action Network by the August 1 deadline if you would like to do so. National PTA has already provided the letter so all you will have to do is enter your contact information when you use the link above.

Carla Wiese

VP and Director of Legislation and Advocacy

Missouri PTA

 


JC/DC Action Alert: Veto SB590

JC/DC ACTION ALERT:  Veto SB590

Governor Nixon should veto SB 590 , a bill the Missouri legislature recently passed to address sentences for children under 18 convicted of homicide crimes.  Because of recent United States Supreme Court cases, existing Missouri law was unconstitutional and the Missouri Supreme Court created a temporary solution until the Missouri legislature acted.  Advocates, including the Missouri PTA, had been working closely with legislators to support HB 1995, a bill that would have given all children a chance at review by the parole board.  While HB 1995 wouldn’t guarantee release to anyone, it recognized that children should be treated differently in the adult criminal justice system and that no child should be sentenced to die in prison.  Despite these ongoing discussions, in the last two days of the legislative session, several legislators had rushed, closed-door negotiations and passed SB 590 without consulting any advocates.  This bill allows for life-without-parole sentences for children under 18 and sentences them to harsh mandatory minimums.  Governor Nixon should veto SB 590 because it’s harmful to Missouri’s children and is out of line with adolescent brain development research, which demonstrates that children can be rehabilitated.  SB 590 moves in the opposite direction of national trends that acknowledge children deserve second chances and will likely be challenged as unconstitutional.

Dear Governor Nixon,

Governor Nixon, please veto SB 590.  On behalf of the Missouri PTA, we believe that all children have the potential to grow and change.  No child should be sentenced to die in prison without any opportunity for review.  After historically being considered a leader in juvenile justice, SB 590 would make Missouri lag behind our neighbors in Iowa, Kansas, and Kentucky and states like Texas and West Virginia.  As every parent and teacher knows, teenagers make mistakes, some of which are devastating, but these mistakes shouldn’t condemn them to a life in prison without any hope.  Thank you for vetoing SB 590.

Sincerely,

You name and PTA

You can contact Governor Nixon through this page.


URGENT National PTA, “PTA Takes Action” Action Alert

Unfortunately, the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFECs) program was NOT funded in the Senate Labor, HHS & Education (LHHS-ED) FY2017 subcommittee appropriations bill today. Call your senator to tell him/her to fund the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFECs) in Fiscal Year 2017. Some of you may have called your senator earlier this week but we need you to call again!

The full Senate Appropriations Committee will vote on Thursday, June 9 to fund education programs.

Before 5pm on Wednesday, June 8, call your senator and tell him/her to support funding for the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFECs) grant program to make sure families are equal partners in their child’s education!

President Barack Obama (US)
(202) 456-1111 (Capitol)

Vice President Joe Biden (US)
(202) 456-1111 (Capitol)

Senator Claire McCaskill (MO)
(202) 224-6154 (Capitol)
(314) 367-1364 (District)

Senator Roy Blunt (MO)
(202) 224-5721 (Capitol)
(816) 471-7141 (District)

Representative Emanuel Cleaver (MO-005)
(202) 225-4535 (Capitol)
(816) 842-4545 (District)

Background:
The SFEC program was included in Title IV, Part E of Every Student Succeeds Act of 2016—the new education law replacing No Child Left Behind. SFECs are designed to build capacity for states and school districts to systematically embed family engagement policies and practices in schools. The SFEC program will provide much needed professional development for educators and school leaders to strengthen school-family partnerships and parent-teacher relationships.

Talking points to use when contacting your Senator:

  • Provide your name and title/role with PTA
  • Ask your senator to ensure there is funding for Statewide Family Engagement Centers in the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill for FY 2017.
  • The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) authorized this important program at $10 million.
  • 86 national and state organizations support funding this program at its authorized level of $10 million.
  • Say “As a constituent, parent and advocate, I know the importance of family engagement in schools. Will the senator support investing in this critical program in the final bill?”

If they ask or you would like to expand upon the importance of funding SFECs, below are a few additional talking points that you could use:

  • Over 40 years of research shows that family engagement is critical for student success. Students with engaged families attend school more regularly, earn better grades, enroll in advanced-level courses and have higher graduation rates.
  • Teachers are also more likely to remain in schools where families are involved and they can develop trusting relationships to help students and families succeed.
  • An investment in SFECs and family engagement is important to ensuring not only that families are meaningfully supported and engaged in the education of their children, but that our nation’s students are fully prepared for higher education, workforce and career opportunities in the 21st century.

Urgent Call to action! Improve Family Engagement in Your Child’s School