Missouri Business Headlines

Charter school expansion bill passes House

Posted on

A bill to give more Missouri families a way out of failing school districts and increase charter school accountability has passed the Missouri House of Representatives.

In a tight 83-76 vote on March 16, House lawmakers approved Rep. Rebecca Roeber’s House Bill 634. The bill now moves to the Missouri Senate.

The bill would empower communities throughout the state with the option of opening up a charter school if one of the schools in their district had an APR score of 60 or below. Currently, charter schools only operate in St. Louis and Kansas City.

The bill would give public school districts the first right of refusal to operate new charter schools. In addition, the bill would only go into effect if the foundation formula is fully funded—which the House budget chair is proposing to do in the coming fiscal year.

Furthermore, charter schools will only be able to set up in districts where a school has an APR score 10 percent below provisional accreditation.

Missouri is also seeking to create some of the toughest accountability standards in the nation for charter schools, forcing charter schools to perform above the district average or face closure.

The bill would also create more opportuntities for school districts to enhance technical training by sponsoring Career & Technical Education Certificate Charter Schools.

Rep. Roeber, a retired teacher, said her bill would ensure more students have access to education options.

“I taught for 18 years in a district that struggled—and test scores continue to fall—and I saw students and families with resources leave the district and make different choices for their students. But a lot of my students’ families couldn’t do that. So I believe in choice and I believe in competition … if you have to compete for those students then you have to up your game.”

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry supports education reform initiatives as a way to improve the state’s workforce and ensure the students coming out of Missouri classrooms are either prepared for higher education or equipped to go to work.

« Back to News