Better Late than Never
With just one day left in the session, the Missouri Legislature is on the verge of finally making it easier for Missouri families to choose charter schools and virtual education. By an overwhelming vote of 119 to 26, House Bill 1552 is now Truly Agreed (the House has approved Senate changes) and will be sent to the governor’s desk.
This bill will broaden choices for Missouri parents in two ways. First, it fixes the funding glitch for charter school students in Kansas City and elsewhere. Because more families in Kansas City have chosen charter schools than traditional public schools, Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) doesn’t receive enough state funding to cover what’s owed to the charter schools. This bill fixes that by having the state make up the difference. It also ensures that charter school students have access to the same sources of local funding as students who choose their neighborhood school.
Secondly, this bill improves the way full-time virtual students in the Missouri Course Access Program (MOCAP) are treated. And it ensures that schools and districts stay out of the way of families that choose this option for their children. Full-time virtual providers will now be considered their own attendance centers and report student test scores instead of being part of a local district.
Tens of thousands of Missouri families are already choosing charter schools and MOCAP. These children shouldn’t be treated as second-class citizens just because their assigned public school doesn’t work for them. Fortunately, the Missouri Legislature has agreed.