Action Alert – PTA Takes Action

Dear PTA Advocate,

National PTA has a long history of support for gun safety and violence prevention and we are committed to making sure every child has the opportunity to learn in a safe and welcoming environment.

In the aftermath of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., National PTA urges you to send a letter to your member of congress asking them to support common-sense solutions to eliminate gun violence and provide a safer and healthier environment for all students. Taking action today is easy-just click here to use the PTA Takes Action Network to contact your members of Congress about this important issue.  Please also custimize your letter to your members of Congress by inserting your name and the name of your child’s school in the bracketed areas.

The kind of loss experienced by families and communities impacted by mass shootings is unimaginable, and our country has experienced far too many gun-related tragedies. It is urgent that we work together to find solutions and make meaningful changes to keep our children safe. Thank you for joining us in our mission to make every child’s potential a reality.

Sincerely,

National PTA Government Affairs Team

Tell Congress to Support Sensible Solutions to Eliminate Gun Violence!


***JC/DC Alert MO PTA Opposes SB 617 **

**This bill is up for a full Senate vote contact your Senator NOW****

Missouri PTA opposes any measure that would take away funding for schools in Missouri. The loss of revenue generated from individual income tax is a large portion of funding for Missouri schools. Without quality schools it will be hard to attract new businesses and may even cause the loss of existing businesses, which hurts all of Missouri.

 

In the current fiscal year, the tax is budgeted to reduce $464 million for the general revenue budget. These cuts would come at a time when Missouri is already struggling to meet its budget needs due to previously enacted tax changes, and would require additional and steep cuts to services including education.

  • The net effect of SB 617 would cut $464 million from state general revenue in 2019 while SB 611 would reduce state revenue by more than $1 billion[1].These cuts would come at a time when Missouri is already struggling to meet its budget needs due to previously enacted tax changes, and would require additional and steep cuts to services. In context, $462 million is the equivalent of 50% of state general revenue funding for mental health. It is more than Missouri spends in general revenue on all early education and child care services combined.
  • In addition, SB 617 would eliminate the individual income tax over time, increasing its cost each year and eventually resulting in an annual cut of $6.6 billion.Individual income tax currently provides $6.6 billion to support the FY 2018 budget, or 36% of all state-source funding (not including federal funds)[2]. There would simply be no way for Missouri to compensate for the loss of revenue.
  • This bills would place Missouri on a fiscal path that would make Kansas’ recent experience with tax cuts look like a cake walk.
  • This bill would provide large tax cuts to wealthy Missourians, at the expense of everyone else.SB 617 would give Missourians with average incomes of $1.387 million a tax cut of $11,096 in 2019, while most working Missourians would see little impact or even tax increases. In fact, an analysis by the Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy found that 91% of the tax cut would flow to the wealthiest 20% of Missourians.
  • As in the Kansas experience, Missouri would have little alternative but to move toward regressive consumption taxes (sales tax), increasing the burden on working Missourians.

 

Schools are already struggling in part due to gaps in the budget created by the passage of SB 641 and SB 1025 in 2016. When Missouri is unable to fully fund its portion of schools every district and every child suffers. This can be felt most strongly in districts that are struggling to pay for the cost of education due to lowering property values and tax revenue. The corporate tax is vital to these schools to help to make the playing field level for all Missouri children no matter the school district.

There are a few districts in Missouri that will be better able to adjust to such a loss in income. However, what about the districts that cannot? There are several districts that already have cut music and extra curricular activities out of their budget. They already have had to lay off support staff and may have to eventually lay off [i]teachers. How are those schools going to be competitive with the schools that are better able to make up for decrease in funding? We have seen several schools across Missouri lose accreditation and the fall out of students moving to other districts. The further lack of funds that the loss of income tax would create a greater disparity between school districts. This will severely impair how students can be accepted into colleges and how schools will be able to attract quality staff.

Furthermore, with an educated population comes a qualified work force. This work force will help attract new businesses to Missouri. These new businesses in turn create new employment opportunities for Missourians. If we cannot fully invest in education we dissolve the very force that will propel Missouri onward. The children of Missouri deserve to have an equal chance no matter from which district they attend. We need to ensure they have career opportunities waiting for them to encourage them to stay in Missouri. Please tell your Senator to vote NO to SB 617.

 

Dear Senator,

Missouri PTA opposes any measure that would take away funding for schools in Missouri. The loss of revenue generated from individual income tax is a large portion of funding for Missouri schools. Without quality schools it will be hard to attract new businesses and may even cause the loss of existing businesses, which hurts all of Missouri.

 

In the current fiscal year, the tax is budgeted to reduce $464 million for the general revenue budget. These cuts would come at a time when Missouri is already struggling to meet its budget needs due to previously enacted tax changes, and would require additional and steep cuts to services including education.

 

Schools are already struggling in part due to gaps in the budget created by the passage of SB 641 and SB 1025 in 2016. When Missouri is unable to fully fund its portion of schools every district and every child suffers. This can be felt most strongly in districts that are struggling to pay for the cost of education due to lowering property values and tax revenue. The corporate tax is vital to these schools to help to make the playing field level for all Missouri children no matter the school district.

There are a few districts in Missouri that will be better able to adjust to such a loss in income. However, what about the districts that cannot? There are several districts that already have cut music and extra curricular activities out of their budget. They already have had to lay off support staff and may have to eventually lay off [ii]teachers. How are those schools going to be competitive with the schools that are better able to make up for decrease in funding? We have seen several schools across Missouri lose accreditation and the fall out of students moving to other districts. The further lack of funds that the loss of income tax would create a greater disparity between school districts. This will severely impair how students can be accepted into colleges and how schools will be able to attract quality staff.

Furthermore, with an educated population comes a qualified work force. This work force will help attract new businesses to Missouri. These new businesses in turn create new employment opportunities for Missourians. If we cannot fully invest in education we dissolve the very force that will propel Missouri onward. The children of Missouri deserve to have an equal chance no matter from which district they attend. We need to ensure they have career opportunities waiting for them to encourage them to stay in Missouri. Please tell your Senator to vote NO to SB 617.

Sincerely,

 

Your Name

PTA Unit

 

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

Carla Wiese

VP and Director of Legislation and Advocacy

carlaw@mopta.org


JC/DC ACTION ALERT: Children in Adult Prisons

**THANK YOU, due to your efforts SB 793 was passed out of the senate yesterday! **

SB 793 has been voted out of the Senate and is now in the House for consideration.

Currently Missouri law allows for incarcerated children to be held in adult prisons before their trials.  While they have been charged with serious offences, these children have not yet been convicted of a crime. SB 793 would require children to be prosecuted in juvenile courts unless the child is certified as an adult or is being prosecuted for a traffic or curfew violation. Additionally, the bill specifies that no person under the age of 18 may be detained in an adult jail unless the person has been certified as an adult. This bill does NOT change the ability of the court to certify youth as adults for heinous crimes and hold these offenders in adult facilities.

Please continue to keep pressure on the House now to pass this important piece of legislation! Be watching for JC/DC alerts as this bill begins to work its way through the House. #18in18 because 17 is too young!!

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

Carla Wiese
VP Legislation and Advocacy
Missouri PTA
carlaw@mopta.org


JC/DC ACTION ALERT: MO Empowerment Scholarships Account Program

** PLACED ON CALENDAR FOR FULL SENATE VOTE** Please contact your senator now!

SB 612 has been placed on the calendar for a full senate vote.

SB 612 would establish the Show Me Opportunity Scholarship Program

The MO Empowerment Scholarship Program is a particular concern for PTA 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, 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 contact your Senator now to let them know your feelings on this bill.

Dear Senator,

The MO Empowerment Scholarship Program 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 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 612 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 ACTION ALERT: MO Empowerment Scholarships Account Program

** PLACED ON CALENDAR FOR FULL SENATE VOTE** Please contact your senator now!

SB 612 has been placed on the House Ways and Means Calendar.

SB 612 would establish the Show Me Opportunity Scholarship Program

The MO Empowerment Scholarship Program is a particular concern for PTA 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, 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 contact your Senator now to let them know your feelings on this bill.

Dear Senator,

The MO Empowerment Scholarship Program 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 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 612 by voting no.

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.


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