2 Heartland school districts oppose Mo. school open enrollment bill
SOUTHEAST Mo. (KFVS) - Missouri lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow students to transfer to a public school outside of their home district.
Supporters say they want to give students in Missouri the chance to find educational opportunities that best suit them, and argue competition would make all schools better.
But not all agree.
”I think there’s a lot of downfalls to House Bill 253.”
Scott City Superintendent Michael Umfleet said, in his opinion, those downfalls include funding and staffing.
“If you get an influx of kids that you’re not prepared for, what is your student to teacher ratio gonna be? Is it gonna increase your class sizes? If you’re losing students are you gonna have to cut staff,” Superintendent Umfleet wondered.
In the Caruthersville School District, administrators say they’re not sure how the proposed bill for open enrollment could help student’s education in the classroom.
“I haven’t seen any research that shows a positive effect on education as a whole from open enrollment, and so I think the possible negatives outweigh any positives that could come out of it,” Caruthersville Superintendent Brad Gerling said.
Gerling said if House Bill 253 passes, he hopes his district can manage.
“Right now, we’re just kind of waiting to see exactly what happens and hoping the state senate will take the advice from most of the statewide educational groups that are opposed to the bill,” he added.
In Scott City, Superintendent Umfleet said he’s worried the bill’s effects could impact much more than the classroom. He worried it could even harm some communities.
“People don’t realize, especially being in a small town like Scott City, is your school is your town and it is the face of your community and when that starts going away what happens to that community. There’s a lot of great schools in southern Missouri in our rural districts that do a great job educating our kids and are those schools going to be safe when this happens,” said Scott City Superintendent Michael Umfleet.
If passed, the bill would not go into effect until the 2024 school year and districts could only add an additional 3 percent of their enrollment over the previous year.
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