SCS/HB 627 - This act establishes provisions related to savings accounts for educational expenses and provisions allowing for parental objections of school district policies, practices, and procedures.
MISSOURI EDUCATION SAVINGS PROGRAM
Under this act, the Missouri Education Savings Program is renamed the Missouri Education Program.
This act modifies the definition of "eligible educational institution" to include all eligible educational institutions, as defined in Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, rather than just institutions of postsecondary education. (Sections 166.400, 166.410, 166.415, 166.420, 166.425, 166.435, 166.440, and 166.456)
These provisions are identical to provisions in SB 152 (2021), are substantially similar to provisions contained in SB 30 (2020) and SS/SCS/SBs 55, 23, & 25 (2021), and are similar to provisions contained in SCS/HCS/HB 1540 (2020), HCS/HB 2068 (2020), and HCS/HB 2261 (2020).
SHOW ME CHILD DEVELOPMENT ACCOUNT ACT
This act establishes the Show Me Child Development Account Act.
Upon receiving notification of a live birth, the Department of Health and Senior Services shall notify the State Treasurer and transmit data related to the child necessary to determine whether the child was born after January 1, 2022 and was either a resident of the state at the time of birth or was an adoptee whose adoptive parent was a resident of the state at the time of entry of the decree of adoption.
Upon receiving such data and determining whether the child qualifies, the State Treasurer shall notify the parent of each qualified child, including an explanation of the program and the opportunity for the parent to opt out of the program. Qualified children are automatically enrolled unless excluded by the parent.
This act also establishes the Missouri Children's Development Account Program Fund to provide scholarship grants and to pay for the expenses of the Treasurer related to the administration of the Show Me Child Development Account Act.
Each day, the Treasurer shall apportion interest or other investment income and shall deduct administrative costs in the same manner as such apportionment and deductions are made from the Treasurer's General Operations Fund. The Treasurer shall then deposit an identified portion of the daily interest receipts, not to exceed .35% of the total average daily fund balance within the State Treasury, into the Program Fund for coverage of administrative and banking expenses and issuing scholarship grants.
Scholarship grants shall be distributed to individual scholarship accounts established for each qualified child, or to a master account for the purpose of distributing funds to such individual accounts. To the extent allowed under federal law, such funds shall not be counted for purposes of eligibility for public assistance. Funds in such accounts may be used for the child's qualified higher education expenses, as defined in the act, until the child reaches age 30, when the funds shall revert to the Program Fund.
The Treasurer may receive additional contributions to the Program Fund and may make additional grants to eligible children for qualified higher education expenses.
These provisions are similar to provisions contained in SB 30 (2021); SCS/SB 55, 23, & 25 (2021); SB 251 (2021); SCS/SB 296 (2021); HCS/HB 349 (2021); SCS/SB 581 (2020); and HB 2068 (2020).
Under this act, a parent or guardian may file with the school board a formal objection to any school policy, practice, or procedure which applies to the parent, guardian, or his or her child, including instructional materials or methods not required by state law.
Within 30 days of receipt of the objection, the school board shall issue a response denying the parent's objection or describing an implementation plan to immediately exempt the child from the policy, practice, or procedure. School boards may deny parental objections that allege a de minimis infringement of parental rights or if the requested accommodation is unreasonable. An infringement is considered de minimis if it is not related to the content of curriculum or instruction and does not have a material impact on the child's care, custody, upbringing, education, religious instruction, place of habitation, or physical or mental health care.
Parents and guardians may appeal a school board's denial by filing such appeal with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education within fifteen days of the issuance of the denial.
A parent or guardian shall be awarded one thousand five hundred dollars or the total amount of the parent or guardian's contributions to local property taxes in the preceding year, whichever is greater, if the school district fails to show by clear and convincing evidence that it responded as required by the act. Such award shall only be used for the child's educational expenses.
These provisions are substantially similar to SB 352 (2021).