Gov. Nixon announces that he will veto legislation that would have sent public dollars to private schools

May 23, 2014
Senate Bill 493 fails to address challenges resulting from existing transfer law and instead would create even more problems for students and families, Governor says
Jefferson City, MO

Gov. Jay Nixon today announced that he will veto legislation that would have diverted public, taxpayer dollars away from Missouri’s public schools and given that money to private schools without any accountability to voters.  In addition, the Governor said that this failed attempt to fix the current school transfer law would, in fact, result in further disruption for students in struggling school districts by eliminating the requirement that unaccredited school districts pay for transportation costs.

“Every child in Missouri deserves a quality public education, and that is why I am vetoing Senate Bill 493,” Gov. Nixon said. “Senate Bill 493 fails to address the challenges resulting from the existing school transfer law and instead, would create even more problems by allowing public funds to be used for private schools and pulling the rug out from under students who have transferred.”

Senate Bill 493 includes a provision that would allow public taxpayer dollars to be used to pay for private school tuition, a dangerous voucher scheme that would undermine the core principles and protections enshrined in Missouri’s constitution.

“Throughout the legislative session I repeatedly made it clear that any effort to send public dollars to private schools through a voucher program would be met by my veto pen,” Gov. Nixon said.  “The General Assembly ignored my warnings, and this veto will be the result.”

Senate Bill 493 would eliminate the requirement that unaccredited districts pay for the transportation costs of students.  This provision would negatively impact the hundreds of students and families who have already transferred to another school district with an understanding that their transportation costs would be paid.

Senate Bill 493 would also have allowed districts that receive students from unaccredited districts to discount the tuition paid for transfers in exchange for not having to include those students’ performance data for accountability purposes for up to five years.  The result of this provision would be to allow schools to not be held accountable for the education of these transfer students.