Missouri House passes open enrollment bill; faces opposition from educators
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
The Missouri House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday that would let students choose which school they want to attend using state money.
The bill would create an open enrollment system under which students could transfer from one district to another regardless of how the district they live in is rated. It won final approval on an 85-69 vote.
Some foresee people flocking to schools that already have a lot of funding and leaving smaller schools high and dry. When a student changes schools, so does the state funding that goes with them.
Todd Fuller said the Missouri State Teachers Association is against open enrollment because of the financial burden it could place on rural schools.
"When the money follows the student, it can cause financial issues for the district, especially a smaller district," Fuller said.
Bill sponsor Rep. Brad Pollitt (R-Sedalia) said on the House floor that the bill is not a political attack on public schools.
"I personally believe that this is a very pro-public school bill," Pollitt said.
In the bill, it says there are three reasons for open enrollment:
- Allowing the student to attend a school where their parent works
- Taking classes that may not be offered at every school
- Letting parents select a curriculum that aligns with their views
The bill specifies that transferring schools does not have to be for the above reasons.
"Even the sponsor of the bill said that it could sometimes close and cause consolidation for some of our smaller school districts in rural parts of Missouri," Fuller said. "The school district goes, sometimes the town goes as well."
The bill now heads to the Missouri Senate.