Nixon will veto student transfer legislation

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) – Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said he will veto a bill that would have overhauled legistlation pertaining to unaccredited school districts.

SB 493 would have lowered tuition an unaccredited school gives to receiving schools. Parents would have to pay to transport their children to the new school.

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Gov. Nixon said previously a portion of the bill was unconstitutional in how it handles sending children to private schools.

In a statement released Friday, he also said that the bill would have caused further disruption by adding the requirement that unaccredited schools not pay for transportation.

After the announcement, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary education released the following statement:

"We were aware of the possibility of this action on SB 493. We will continue to work with the options we have under current law. Our immediate goal is helping students and districts smoothly close out the school year."

House Speaker Tim Jones also released the following statement:

"The governor's decision to veto a truly bipartisan education reform bill is extremely disappointing as it leaves the young people in our struggling school districts without a viable solution. This is a governor who has again failed to lead on one of the most important issues facing our state, and has in fact chosen to remain completely disengaged from this process. I know my colleagues on the House side, as well as Senators Chappelle-Nadal, Nasheed and Curls, who worked very hard with us and across party lines, all share my frustration as this governor offers no solutions but instead stands in the way of our efforts to give kids a choice and access to a great education."

Rep. Rick Stream said:

"I am extremely disappointed by the governor's decision to use one stroke of his veto pen to undo the hundreds of hours that members of both parties invested in developing a bipartisan solution that puts the needs of children first. The governor was completely absent throughout this process and never once even pretended that fixing our failing school districts was a priority. By vetoing the bill today he has condemned districts to bankruptcy and closure. It's a shame that he has once again demonstrated a complete lack of leadership on an issue of such great importance."

Children's Education Council of Missouri State Director Kate Casas released the following statement:

"Today, by vetoing Senate Bill 493, Gov. Jay Nixon let Missouri down – particularly Missouri children. His veto effectively blocks legislation that would allow students in unaccredited schools to attend a better school in their home district.

It is one thing that the Governor chose to sit on the sidelines this entire legislative session and that he failed to offer any solutions of his own, that he made absolutely no contributions to help craft or refine SB493. But at the very least, he has an obligation to do no harm. However, he has done just that. What his veto says to the kids of Normandy School District is that they don't matter, that they aren't important enough to receive a high quality education.

It is not the Governor's place to pick and choose which Missouri children have access to a high quality education. Providing all kids immediate access to the high quality education they deserve shouldn't even be a debate.

Senate Bill 493 is hard-fought legislation that had widespread bi-partisan support. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle – backed by education advocacy groups like the Children's Education Council of Missouri, and concerned parents from throughout the state – have pledged to continue the fight throughout the summer. CECM and its sister organization CEAM intend to stand with the families in Missouri's unaccredited schools to ensure every child maintains his or her right to a high quality, accredited education."

Officials with the Missouri NAACP released the following statements:

The Missouri State Conference of Branches supports the veto of SB493 and the reconstitution of the Normandy School District by DESE. "With roughly 2,000 of the 6,000 children in the Normandy School District boundaries in private schools the private option in SB493 could potentially remove more money away from the district than the current transfer program" – Mary Ratliff, President Missouri NAACP

"Out of all the various complex patterns unfolding that are producing more racially segregated pockets across America, residential segregation obviously continues to be the most decisive factor in terms of determining levels of school segregation. At stake are huge differences in educational outcomes and life chances for minority students" - Adolphus M. Pruitt, II 1st Vice President Missouri NAACP.

Associated Press contributed to this report.


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