SS/SCS/SB 430 - This act establishes the Smart Start Scholarship Program. The program will offer grants for educational expenses incurred while attending a qualifying institution for no more than two academic years to each person who attends a Missouri high school for three consecutive academic years immediately prior to being graduated from the institution, and who, within two calendar years from the date of graduation, applies for a grant under this act. The act defines a "qualifying institution" as:
1. an "approved public institution" or an "approved private institution", as such terms are currently defined in statute; or
2. an accredited proprietary school certificated to operate in this state by the Department of Higher Education; or
3. an educational institution located in Missouri deemed acceptable by the department under rules promulgated pursuant to the act.
Grant amounts shall be distributed to each qualifying student by the department, which shall annually establish a maximum grant amount based on the number of applicants and available moneys in the fund. The program shall be administered by the Missouri Department of Higher Education, which shall promulgate rules to establish a procedure for implementing the program.
This act creates the Missouri Teaching Fellows Program. Under the provisions of this act, certain qualified graduates of Missouri public higher education institutions who are hired to teach in school districts that are not classified as accredited may enter into an educational loan repayment agreement with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. For students without educational loans, the act authorizes the issuance of a stipend.
For each of the first four years that an applicant teaches in a qualifying district, up to one-fourth of the applicant's educational loans, not to exceed $5,000 per year, shall be repaid. For students without educational loans, a stipend of up to $5,000 may be issued. At the conclusion of the fifth academic year that an applicant teaches in a qualifying district, an amount equal to $1,000 shall be granted to the applicant. The maximum amount of $5,000 and the $1,000 stipend shall be adjusted annually based upon the Consumer Price Index.
The Department of Higher Education shall promulgate rules to enforce the provisions of this act, including, but not be limited to: applicant eligibility, selection criteria, and the content of loan repayment contracts. The department shall create and maintain a coordinator position who shall be responsible for identifying, recruiting and selecting potential students for the program.
The act establishes the "Missouri Teaching Fellows Program Fund" in the state treasury.
The provisions of this program sunset in six years.
The provisions of this program are similar to SB 443 (2007).
This act renders the following alterations to the state's gaming policy:
• Repeals the maximum loss limit of five hundred dollars per individual player per gambling excursion;
• Institutes a cap of sixteen licenses to operate excursion gambling boats in the state; and
• Imposes an education allowance of four and one quarter percent on adjusted gross receipts in excess of forty million dollars for gaming licensees.
• States that no documentation or other form of identification, other than that which may be required by a home dock city or county, will be required to enter an area where gambling is being conducted.
• Prohibits the Missouri Gaming Commission or members thereof from operating or otherwise being employees of excursion gambling boats located within the state.
• Requires that any advertising featuring the contribution of gaming to education, whether by the Missouri Gaming Commission or a licensed excursion gambling boat, or any affiliate or association representing gambling boats, clearly and conspicuously state the actual percentage such sums constitute of the total expenditures for education, for that year, under the school funding formula.
The act directs the revenue derived from the loss limit repeal and the education allowance to the newly created Smart Start Fund for operating appropriations to public higher education institutions. At the end of each biennium, after all statutorily or constitutionally required transfers have been made, the balance remaining in the fund which exceeds two hundred percent of the preceding fiscal year's expenditures will be transferred into the state general revenue fund.
The act creates the Smart Start Scholarship fund which will receive annual appropriations, in an amount equal to the annual transfer made to the smart start fund, to fund both the Smart Start Scholarship program and the Missouri Teaching Fellows Program Fund with one million dollars in the fund to be annually transferred for use in the Missouri Teaching Fellows Program.