Reimagining Education

First look: 2020 Missouri education legislation

The first education legislation for the 2020 legislative session are being filed this week.

Missouri senators and representatives are dealing with a wide range of issues in their initial filings.

They address everything from bill that would essentially abolish charter schools to a bill that would allow students to apply sunscreen while at school.

Many of the initial filings only include a single sentence on what the bill will do. We will have more blogs about the meat of the legislation later in December.

Bills focused on education opportunities

A number of the pre-filed bills deal with charter schools and other education choice issues.

Sen. Ed Emery and Rep. Holly Rehder have both filed bills, SB 525 and HB 1487 that would allow the creation of a charter school in the Kansas City area that would only serve students in recovery from substance abuse.

Sen. Emery has also filed two other charter related bills. SB 527 is a comprehensive bill that addresses a variety of issues including regulating charter sponsors and charter school contracts. SB 734 addresses the charter school funding gap and ensures that charter school students get the same funding as district students.

Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin and Sen. Bill Eigel have filed bills, SB 603 and SB 649, that would expand where charter schools can be created to cities with a population of 30,000 or greater or charter counties. These bills also address charter school admissions and charter school funding.

Sen. Gary Romine, a long-time opponent of charter schools, has filed a bill that would essentially phase out the very idea of charter schools in Missouri. His bill, SB 534, would erase 20 years of charter school successes in Kansas City and St. Louis City.

Sen. Andrew Koenig’s SB 707 would create Missouri’s first Empowerment Scholarship Account. Under his legislation, students with special needs, children of military personnel, wards of the state or students who have been bullied would qualify for scholarships that could be used to pay for private school tuition, homeschooling or other educational expenses.

Other education-related bills

Here is a breakdown of other education-related bills that have been pre-filed:

  • HB1262 – Requires school districts to provide instruction in cursive writing
  • HB1275 – Changes the laws regarding school reporting requirements to law enforcement
  • HB 1279 – Requires school districts to implement policies requiring accommodations for breastfeeding mothers
  • HB 1280 – Creates new provisions relating to the Missouri school improvement program
  • HB 1301 – Modifies provisions relating to school protection officers
  • HB1304 – Prohibits the use of a hand-held wireless communication device within a school zone
  • HB 1336 – Requires each local school district and charter school to have on file a policy for reading success plans for certain students
  • HB1345 – Allows school districts to offer elective social studies courses on the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament
  • HB1346 – Requires school districts to display “In God We Trust” in prominent locations in all schools
  • HB1350 – Specifies that a school board may vote to remove its operating levy from a certain definition related to tax increment financing for redevelopment projects
  • HB1470 – Requires teachers and principals to complete two hours of suicide prevention education each school year
  • HB1490 – Requires school districts to implement policies requiring accommodations for breastfeeding mothers
  • HB1561 – Allows students to apply sunscreen at school
  • HB1565 – Modifies provisions governing school district course materials or instruction on human sexuality or sexually transmitted diseases
  • HB1575 – Requires children in the City of St. Louis and Kansas City school districts to enroll in a school by the age of five
  • SB528 – Requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to transfer any excess foundation formula funding to the School Transportation Fund
  • SB582 – Allows school districts and charter schools to receive state school funding under the foundation formula for high school students who are taking competency-based credit
  • SB626 – Requires every school in the St. Louis City school district to use a response-to-intervention tiered approach to reading instruction for students struggling to read
  • SB627 – Creates seven subdistricts within the St. Louis City school district
  • SB645 – Requires school districts with a certain number of gifted students to establish a state-approved program for such students

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