Expanding Public School Choice

February 10, 2020

During National School Choice Week, House Speaker Pro Tem John Wiemann filed HB 2310, which would give parents the ability to send their children to a public school other than the one in their district of residence.

“The Missouri legislature has engaged in passionate debates about reforming education policy,” Wiemann, R-103, said. “We want Missouri students to have the opportunity to receive the tools they need to succeed in life through a high-quality education that prepares them for jobs in skilled trades or college after K-12.

He added, “Parents have told me they want more freedom and options when it comes to education. Our public school choice legislation would give parents the option to send their child to a public school of their choice, even if they do not live in the school district.”

Wiemann’s public school choice bill would provide greater education freedom for public school students. Parents would be required to pay the difference in education funding if the costs to educate a student in the non-resident school district costs more than in the district of residence. The amount of taxes the parents pay in the district of residence would be used as a credit when determining the tuition amount for students who attend schools in non-resident school districts. Parents who exercise this public school choice option would also be responsible for student transportation to and from school. The bill also provides an avenue for school districts to set limits on how many non-resident students they will accept.

“There's pros and cons for the school reform. A big con for our school districts in Monroe County would be to consider this will end up in disaster for our very small schools like Holliday and Middle Grove. Could it be the end for them? Another thing to consider is that schools already have tuitions for non-resident students so will the new tuition be better or worse for parents that want to change schools. A pro, for myself, is that I could have all my kids in one school instead of split between them. I have a preschooler in Paris because Holliday doesn't offer preschool anymore and I have my older kids in Holliday because that's the school district we live in. I live right on the line though, the Paris school bus drives by my house to get over to Granville to pick up Paris students on Route J. Also, in the future if these small schools do ever close down and we have to combine schools like our neighbors in Shelby County, we won't have to waste time signing petitions and voting on where a school district line should be drawn because no matter where the line ends up, you will have the choice to send your kids to whichever school you'd like,” said Casey Mozingo, Holliday School Parent.

I reached out to each Monroe County School District Superintendents and didn’t receive any feedback.