By: Tara Blue
Southern Boone School District Superintendent Dr. Tim Roth was among the seven Boone County superintendents to sign a letter to Governor Parson requesting for him to veto Senate Bill 727. Southern Boone joined Columbia, Hallsville, Sturgeon, Harrisburg, Fayette, and North Callaway school districts to express opposition to the bill which would allow charter schools in Boone County.

The bill, passed on April 18th, creates and modifies numerous provisions relating to elementary and secondary education, including adding all school districts located in Boone County to the list of school districts in which a charter school may be operated by any entity currently authorized to operate a charter school under state law. The bill states that provisions of current law that provide for additional state aid to charter schools shall not apply to any charter school operated in Boone County.

The joint opposition of superintendents took aim at the bill, stating that Boone County is being irrationally targeted as the only county in the state that matches the newly proposed statutory language concerning charter school expansion.
The letter stated that the legislature has determined that parents and families should be provided the choice of a charter school for their children in the state’s two most densely populated urban areas, St. Louis and Kansas City, and also in any location where the current school district is failing to meet the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) standards for performance. The letter argues that none of the eight school districts have ever been unaccredited or at risk for loss of accreditation.

On April 17th, State Representative Cheri Toalson Reisch voiced her support for the bill, stating “Columbia is failing the students of a good education and are close to being provincially unaccredited… parents of CPS share with me their horror stories. Charter schools ARE public schools. This will NOT hurt rural scools that are doing a good job and they will not consolidate because of this Bill. A good education shouldn’t be determined by your zip code, race, or financial status.”