By: Molly Miller, Columbia Missourian
JEFFERSON CITY — The House of Representatives gave initial approval Tuesday (Jan. 30) of a bill that would implement voluntary open enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools.
The bill passed the House for the fourth year in a row despite 24 Republican legislators voting against the legislation. Last year, an attempt to enact open enrollment in Missouri’s schools died in the Senate.
Missouri House Bill 1989 allows students and their families to enroll in an out of district school that has opted into the school choice program. The child would be required to attend the school for at least a year with protections in place so schools couldn’t unenroll them from the program.
Bill sponsor Rep. Brad Pollitt, R-Sedalia, said, “My purpose of this bill is to give a small amount of parents a choice within the public school system. If their district isn’t offering them what they believe their child will need to be successful, they don’t have any choices.”
Critics of school choice programs in Missouri cite concerns over funding, decreasing revenue for public schools and fear of school consolidation as a result.