RELEASE: Missouri children suffer as legislators turn their backs

Charter school, voucher expansion hurts already financially strapped public schools

Friday, June 14, 2024

COLUMBIA Mo. – The Missouri Legislature let down kids repeatedly this year, failing to invest in public schools that more than 90% of Missouri school children depend upon.

This year’s legislative session was the least productive and most chaotic in living memory with only 28 non-budget bills reaching the legislative finish line. What legislators did pass directly hurts Missourians, such as the education spending bill that takes money from public schools and pumps them into private charter schools and vouchers.

“I don’t understand how legislators who claim to represent us can be so short-sighted on funding education, which is pivotal to the American Dream,” said Carmen Buis, a mother of three in Columbia. “Teachers are buying their own classroom supplies while politicians are sending even less money to public schools.”

At a time when Missouri has some of the lowest salaries for teachers in the nation, the over 160-page education bill allows charter schools to operate in Boone County and raises the funding cap for private schools from $25 million to $75 million.

“At every turn, legislators failed to enact laws that would actually improve people’s lives, from expanding child care tax credits to banning child marriage to supporting children in foster care,” said Liz McCune, Executive Director of Progress Missouri. “This is shameful behavior that directly hurts Missouri kids.”