Kate Casas, State Director, Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri
Yesterday, the Joint Interim Committee on School Accreditation met for the first time. The Committee’s co-chairs, Senator Jane Cunningham and Representative Scott Diekhaus, opened the meeting by explaining the two goals of the committee were to: 1. Ensure that students rights under Missouri Revised Statute 161.137 are protected and 2. See if school districts’ concerns regarding this statute can be addressed.
While there were several lobbyists there to testify before the committee, the largest impact was made by a Saint Louis City firefighter named Andrew Hesse. Andrew explained to the committee that as a city employee he has to live in the City of Saint Louis where the public schools are unaccredited. Andrew told the committee that he loved being a firefighter and he enjoyed his St. Louis neighborhood and neighbors, but the cost of a private high school tuition was more than his family could afford. Andrew pleaded with the committee to either enforce the statute as it stands, or to come up with a solution that would ensure that he can do a great job in a city that needs him and that his children can get the quality education that they deserve.
As you can see from this article, Andrew made quite an impact on the committee and all the attendees of the hearing. There will be two more hearings, one in Saint Louis and one in Kansas City. I suspect this is not the last you will hear of Andrew and his colleagues in the fire department so stay tuned.