Reimagining Education

Students continue to win in Missouri

It has been a major two weeks for Missouri families desperate for better educational options.

Last week the new MO Scholars Program, a private school scholarship program funded by private donations, opened applications for families seeking funding for the 2022-23 school year.

The MO Scholars program, Missouri’s first private school choice program, is designed to help Missouri’s most disadvantaged students, providing funding for low-income students and students with special needs.

This new program will help up to 4,000 Missouri students find better educational options by providing each student with up to $6,375 in funding that can be used to pay for private, public charter, or public school tuition or to cover homeschooling expenses. Funds left over after paying for tuition can also be used to pay for tutoring, educational therapies, and transportation.

This major milestone was followed this week by the signing of HB 1552, a bill passed this year that provides equal funding for charter school students and fixes issues with Missouri’s virtual education program, MOCAP, to make it easier for parents to choose to enroll their children in a virtual education program.

The bill, signed by Gov. Mike Parson on Wednesday, is a major victory for public charter schools students who have received less funding than their district school counterparts for years as a result of a “glitch” in the law that tied charter school funding to 2005 property values. This resulted in the average Kansas City charter school student receiving $1,700 less per year than district students and St. Louis charter students receive $2,500 less per year than their district school counterparts.

The bill also makes changes to the Missouri Virtual and Course Access Program (MOCAP) that will hopefully make it easier for families to choose to send their children to virtual schools in the future. The bill prevents local school districts from blocking parents from enrolling their students in MOCAP courses, moving determinations over full-time virtual enrollment to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. It also will allow private school and homeschool students to enroll in MOCAP courses.

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