Charter School Students Will Finally Stop Getting Shortchanged
Governor Parson has now signed House Bill (HB) 1552 into law. In signing HB 1552, the governor has acknowledged that some public school students are not worth less than others just because they have chosen a charter school instead of their assigned public school. The Missouri law that addresses charter school funding will no longer have the “glitch” of charter school student state funding being deducted from local school district state funding.
In Kansas City, a large number of students attend charter schools. But because charter school funding comes from the local district’s state funding pool, which is finite, there is effectively a cap. Once the local district ran out of state money, charter school students stopped receiving a full share. This has led to charter school leaders trying to negotiate with Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) to please dip into their local education revenue to fully fund what charter school students should, by right, be getting in state funding. This will no longer be necessary, as state funding will cover the difference.
More importantly, by fixing this glitch, the legislature and the governor have removed the disincentive to open more charter schools in Kansas City or for existing charter schools to expand and try to move families off waiting lists. I truly believe—and the pandemic has only exacerbated this—that Missouri families want more education options, not fewer. The legislature has been slowly moving in the right direction with Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESAs), improving access to the Missouri Course Access (MOCAP) virtual program, and giving parents direct access to federal stimulus money in the form of Close the Gap scholarships. Let’s keep this momentum going.