SB 698 Establishes the Betty L. Thompson Scholarship Program
Sponsor: Ridgeway Co-Sponsor(s)
LR Number: 2454S.03C Fiscal Note: 2454-03
Committee: Pensions, Veterans' Affairs and General Laws
Last Action: 5/18/2007 - S Informal Calendar S Bills for Perfection Journal Page:
Title: SCS SB 698 Calendar Position:
Effective Date: August 28, 2007

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Current Bill Summary


SCS/SB 698 - This act creates the Betty L. Thompson Scholarship Program. Beginning with the 2007 tax year, the act authorizes a tax credit for taxpayers who donate to an educational assistance organization if the donations are not claimed on the taxpayer's federal income tax return. The tax credit is for 65% of the amount of the contribution and is nonrefundable but may be carried forward for three years or transferred. The cumulative amount of tax credits cannot exceed $40 million annually, and scholarships may not exceed an average of $5,000. Both amounts shall be increased or decreased based on the consumer price index for the midwest. $32 million shall be allotted for tax credit scholarships and $8 million for public school foundations.

Eligibility standards for students receiving scholarships include a grade point average of 2.5 or less; residence in the St. Louis or Kansas City school district; attendance at a public school for the semester before a scholarship is granted or starting school in the state for the first time; and a family income no more than 135% of the level for the reduced school lunch program. Educational assistance organizations must meet requirements for fiscal soundness, percentage of revenues devoted to educational scholarships, and public reporting. Private schools qualify to accept scholarship students by meeting requirements which include employee background checks and administering state student assessments, among others. The act delineates how scholarship checks will be distributed.

Scholarships may also be used at public schools outside the eligible school districts and they will have the right of first acceptance of scholarship students. If the scholarship student attends another public school, the accepting school must take the educational scholarship funds instead of state funds owed to the accepting district.

The Joint Committee on Legislative Research, in conjunction with the department of elementary and secondary education, shall enter into a contract with one or more researcher to study the program, including measurements of student achievement, satisfaction with the program, and its impact on public and private schools.

The provisions of this act shall expire six years from the effective date.

This act is substantially similar to HB 808 (2007).

JIM ERTLE