Omnibus Education Package with Expanded School Choice Program Sanctioned by Missouri Senators
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On Thursday, the Missouri Senate approved an education bill that would expand MOScholars, a tax credit scholarship program for K-12 students, across the state.
Currently, the Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Program is only available in charter counties and Missouri cities with at least 30,000 people. The bill’s proponent, state Sen. Andrew Koenig, stated that the expansion will benefit parents and children looking for more educational options.

“It’s a great package for parents. It’s a great package for kids,” Koenig said. “Obviously, the most important part to me is a statewide ESA program, and raising that threshold for the middle class so that way middle class families will have access to the school choice program.”

Under the current format, the MOScholars program provides students with more than $6,000 in tuition and other educational expenditures. The program is supported by donations to Educational Assistance Organizations. These organizations provide scholarships to students, and donors are eligible to claim a tax credit for their donations.
The Missouri Treasurer’s office functions as the steward of this program, which last year earned approximately $17 million for the program that has a limit of $50 million. Koenig, who has a term limit in the state Senate, is running for treasurer this year. In a press conference Thursday, he suggested that incumbent Treasurer Vivek Malek was not doing enough to promote the program.

“I would expect that if we had a state treasurer who was promoting the program and helping raise money for it, I would expect that it would grow quicker,” Koenig said.

Furthermore, this law would empower Boone County to establish charter schools that would operate independently of local education districts. Originally, the law would have permitted charter schools in all of St. Louis and St. Charles counties, but that provision did not survive in the current form of the legislation.

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