Making Democracy Work

Education Committee

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

Advocating for Education

February 26, 2017
League of Women Voters of Missouri
League of Women Voters of Metro St. Louis
OPPOSE SB 32 - The Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Program

Please contact your Representatives and Senators this week (Feb 27 - Mar3) as a final vote by the General Assembly is expected then. Please ask them to vote NO.

The Education Committee of LWV StL studied SB 32, then reported to the LWVStL board and LWVMO board. After discussion, the boards agreed to OPPOSE SB 32 - The Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Program. This proposed law will reduce tax dollars available to support public schools while at the same time, bolster private schools. See the letter that the League is sending to elected officials...

League of Women Voters of Missouri

Position on SB 32 - The Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Program

State Senator Ed Emery has sponsored and submitted, SB 32, the Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Program which 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). SB 32 also allows Missourians to create education savings accounts with education assistance organizations for k-12 tuition for private schools or for the cost of homeschooling their own children. Contributors to individual education savings accounts would also get full tax credits, except for their own dependents. The annual cumulative amount of tax credits would be limited to $25 million.

The League of Women Voters of Missouri opposes 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.

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