Call Governor Parson and Ask Him to Veto HB 349 ESA/Vouchers
We must protect students, not private institutions.
The Missouri House and Senate has passed House Bill 349 and it is headed to the Governor's desk. We urge Governor Parson to protect Missouri students and VETO HB 349!
About the bill: House Bill 349 (Christofanelli) establishes tax credit scholarships or an Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA). Contributors receive a 100% tax credit for their donation to an Educational Assistance Organization (EAO) overseen by the State Treasurer's Office. HB 349 Long Summary Updated SB 86.pdf
The bill amended by Senate Bill 86 will now:
- Offer $25 million in tax credits for donations to one or more nonprofit “education assistance organizations” (EAO). The amount will be increased based on inflation but capped at $50 million. Ninety percent goes to the scholarships, 4% to the state treasurer, and the rest can go to the EAO.
- The EAO issues scholarships to students who live in Clay, Jackson, Jefferson, St. Charles and St. Louis counties or any city with a population of more than 30,000 to attend a home, private, virtual or public school. Map: HB349CountiesCities.jpg
- Any qualified student is eligible for these scholarships, but priority is given to 1) special education students or students eligible for free and reduced lunch, and 2) students whose household earning does not exceed twice the eligibility for free and reduced lunch ($96,940 For a family of 4). To be qualified, a student must have attended a public school for a semester in the last 12 months or be first enrolling in school.
- Scholarship funds can be used for a broad list of reasons:
- Tuition and fees to a private or virtual school
- Educational therapies or services from a licensed or accredited practitioner or provider including, but not limited to paraprofessionals or aides.
- Testing fees
- Fees for a firm to manage the scholarship account
- Classes and extracurricular programs
- Computer hardware or technological devices
- Summer education programs and after-school programs
- Transportation costs for mileage to and from school.
- Scholarships are only available in fiscal years following a year where the legislature appropriates to transportation 40% of the 75% amount necessary to fully fund transportation in 2021. In any year where the appropriation for transportation goes below that amount, no new scholarship accounts can be created, but the existing ones can continue. (Funds do not need to be received.)
- For the first 5 years, if a student leaves a public school or charter school after receiving a scholarship, the school district may continue to count the student for state aid unless the student graduates, returns to a resident public school, or quits receiving the scholarship.
- State Treasurer may delegate authority to the Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Board, which includes:
- State Treasurer as chair
- Higher Education and Workforce Development Commissioner
- Education Commissioner
- Office of Administration Commissioner
- One appointed member by Senate Pro Tem
- One appointed member by Speaker of the House
- One appointed member by the Governor
After you complete this form, you'll see the phone number for Governor Parson. Please consider sending your comments to the Governor through this email form as well.
Thank you for your advocacy!