In the coming days, weeks and months ahead, you may be asked to sign a petition for what seems like a good idea: tax credits for education. The petition is labeled with the friendly name of the Children’s Education Initiative but the issue is not as simple as it seems.
This petition, if enough signatures are gathered and voters approved the question in a statewide election, would modify Missouri’s constitution through the election process to create a $90 million tax credit program for donations to public and private school foundations.
Of this $90 million, 50% of the credit is dedicated to public school foundations, 40% dedicated to private school foundations and 10% to private providers of special education services.
Being an organization that supports public education, Missouri Parent does not agree with the petition effort and asks you, and all parents in Missouri, to decline to sign it.
The reasons Missouri Parent cannot support this initiative include:
· We are opposed to state tax credit programs that provide funding for private or parochial schools.
· The Children’s Education Initiative would redirect $90 million away from the state’s general revenue fund. The tax credit program would remove this money from state revenues when those resources could be used to help fund the state’s foundation formula that is already underfunded by nearly $600 million.
· The Children’s Education Initiative creates an iniquity in Missouri school funding. Wealthy patrons that live in wealthier regions of the state are better positioned to take advantage of this tax credit, while poorer and smaller schools in rural and urban Missouri are at a disadvantage.
· Because almost all of the private schools in the state of Missouri are located in suburban and urban settings, private schools in those areas will be receiving the funding ($45 million) that would normally be distributed through the formula to all schools in the state.
· There is no provision that despite receiving public money through this tax credit program that private schools be required to be held to the same standards as public schools.
· Missouri currently spends over $500 million on tax credit programs, more than any other state in the country, and a new $90 million tax credit would be an 18% increase in tax credits
We ask that you also share this information with your friends, family, co-workers and anyone you know who may be approached about this petition.
Missouri public education funding is already given the short end of the stick, the state shouldn’t be doing anything else to weaken our public schools.
The official petition can be seen on the website of the Missouri Secretary of State here.
You may also be interested in these articles on similar topics:
Two Reasons to Choose Public Schools
The Cost of Private Education for Missouri Families
These Legislators Stood Strong for Education in Missouri
Posted on Wed, December 18, 2013
by MOParent filed under