Senate Bill 55 could cause changes for Missouri schools

Knox County R-1 school bus
Knox County R-1 school bus(WGEM)
Updated: Jan. 26, 2021 at 7:55 PM CST
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KNOX COUNTY, MO. (WGEM) -- Missouri Lawmakers combined two previous senate bills into Senate Bill 55.

Knox County R-1 Superintendent Andy Turgeon said the first part of the bill allows home school students to participate in after school activities.

“They can participate and who would know whether or not they are failing.”

Turgeon said the bill also allows parents to use state tax-credit vouchers to pay a child’s tuition at a private school, which would take funding away from schools.

“Do we know would kids come here, would kids go somewhere else, that’s neither here nor there. The idea is our funding would still be reduced,” he said.

Missouri State Senator Cindy O’Laughlin is pushing Senate Bill 55 but was not available for an in-person interview today.

Her office issued this statement.

“COVID has helped expose that the one-size-fits-all approach of public education in Missouri leaves some kids behind. We are fortunate to have great schools in Northeast Missouri, but that’s not the case in other parts of our state and it means we don’t have the skilled workforce we need for economic growth.”

Turgeon said he also concerned that the bill would allow charter schools to operate in any city or county. Existing law only allows charter schools in Kansas City and St. Louis.

“Charter schools in the state of Missouri get state funding. So every time you add a school you have one pot of money. It gets divided up the more schools, the less money there is to go around,” he said.

The bill now moves on for Senate debate.

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