Jefferson City — State Sen. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester, and State Rep. Doug Richey, R-Excelsior Springs, announced plans to pre-file legislation on Wednesday, Dec. 1, to fix inequities in the way Missouri funds public charter schools in St. Louis and Kansas City.
Currently, local school districts receive funding based on current year tax collections, while public charter schools receive funding based on property tax rates from 2004-05. Since 2019, leaders from Kansas City Public Schools and the city’s public charter schools have worked to reach a compromise to fix this funding discrepancy. According to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the average St. Louis public charter student receives $2,500 less compared to peers who attend district schools in the St. Louis Public School system. In Kansas City, students attending public charter schools receive about $1,700 less than those attending the city’s district schools, despite the fact that more than half of the students in the district attend a public charter school.
“Our education system’s struggles these past two years during the pandemic have shown the limits of a one-size-fits-all approach to K-12 education,” said Sen. Koenig. “It’s time to build on the Kansas City compromise that helped inform this legislation, and find solutions to ensure every Missouri student has the resources they need for a first-class education.”
During the 2021 legislative session, Sen. Koenig sponsored legislation to create the Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program to provide eligible Missouri students with tax-credit scholarships to pay for various educational options. The governor signed this legislation into law, creating the MOScholars program.