Making Democracy Work

Education Committee

Education Committee studies government policy that affects schools at every level.

Advocating for Education

League of Women Voters of Missouri

Position on SB 32 - The Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Program

SB 32, the Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Program would allow a taxpayer to make contributions to "educational assistance organizations," 501(c)(3) organizations, that provide scholarships for K-12 students to use to attend private schools. In turn, the taxpayer would get a full tax credit, i.e., a credit equal to 100% of the contribution (but not for their own dependent).

The League of Women Voters of Missouri opposed this bill because, if enacted, it would drain tax dollars away from public schools to private schools via the 100% tax credit provision. Missouri public schools are already operating under significant duress due, in large part, to chronic reductions in state funds to local school districts. It is estimated that the Foundation Formula is underfunded by at least $400 million. This measure would further reduce tax dollars available to support public schools while at the same time, bolstering private schools. Article IX, Section 1(a) of the Missouri Constitution makes it clear that the General Assembly's first obligation is to establish and maintain public schools, not private schools.