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Reimagining Education

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School choice legislation moving in Missouri Senate

A number of school choice related bills have made it out of committee and are waiting to be heard on the floor of the Missouri Senate.

Expanding access to private education

A new proposal this year, SB581,  to help more low-income students access a school of choice was voted out of the Senate Ways and Means Committee at the end of January and is now waiting for perfection before being debated on the Senate floor.

The proposal, called the Show Me a Brighter Future Scholarship Act, was sponsored by Sen. Mike Cierpiot, is supported by the state Treasure’s office, and would create a tax-credit based fund that would be used to offer scholarships through the MOST 529 program for low-income students to attend a private school of their choice.

Many parents and school leaders testified in favor of the proposal and their testimony can be seen here.

A second private school choice bill, SB707, is expected to be heard in the Senate Education Committee next week. This bill, sponsored by Sen. Andrew Koenig, was proposed last year as well and would create the Missouri Empowerment Scholarships Account. This would be a tax-credit funded scholarship account that would allow families receiving scholarships to pay for private school tuition, homeschooling expenses, and other education expenses.

Charter school legislation

Last week was a big week for charter school legislation with a number of bills moving forward in both the House and Senate.

Two bills, SB649  and SB603, which would expand where charter schools can open in the state, improve charter sponsor accountability, and fix funding glitches for charter schools were passed out of committees in the Senate last week.

SB649, which is sponsored by Sen. Bill Eigel, has been placed on the Senate perfection calendar.

SB525, sponsored by Sen. Ed Emery, was also placed on the Senate perfection calendar. This bill would allow for the creation of a regional charter school in the Kansas City area specifically designed to help students with substance abuse issues.

On the House side, HB1664, which will “fix the glitch” with charter school funding and ensure that students at charter schools get equitable funding, was voted out of committee and has been sent to the Rules Committee before being heard on the floor.

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