Jun 11, 2015 – Weekly Capitol Update

DESE TO SEEK NEW FUNDING TO ASSIST STRUGGLING SCHOOLS

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Education again will seek additional funding from state lawmakers next year to help the department better assist failing local school districts, the Missourinet reported on June 17. This past spring, DESE asked for an additional $3.1 million to help struggling districts, but the Republican-controlled General Assembly didn’t include the spending authority in the state operating budget for the 2016 fiscal year, which beings July 1.

According to the Missourinet, Missouri State Board of Education member Michael Jones said DESE and the board were unprepared for last summer’s state takeover of the Normandy School District. Various news reports have indicated the situation in Normandy has deteriorated in the year since the state took control of the district.

Although it had struggled academically for years, Normandy had been financially stable until pushed to the brink of insolvency by the Missouri’s student transfer law. Under the transfer law, students in unaccredited school districts can transfer to a nearby accredited district of their choice, with their home district required to pay tuition and transportation costs to the receiving districts. Many Normandy students started taking advantage of the law starting with the 2013-2014 school year.

Since the law doesn’t limit tuition rates, some receiving districts have chosen to charge Normandy and Riverview Gardens, the state’s other unaccredited school district, tuition that exceeds their actual costs to educate students. DESE officials said additional resources are needed not just to assist unaccredited districts but to help provisionally accredited district from slipping further.

 

NIXON SIGNS SENIOR SAVINGS PROTECTION ACT INTO LAW

Gov. Jay Nixon on June 12 signed into law legislation intended to better protect elderly Missourians and disabled adults from financial exploitation. The bill, SB 244, is dubbed the Senior Savings Protection Act. It will take effect Aug. 28.

The bill gives financial broker-dealers the authority to refuse to process a transaction involving an account of a senior citizen or disabled adult if a broker-dealer has reason to believe the transaction would result in financial exploitation. Lawmakers approved the bill on votes of 120-23-1 in the House of Representatives and 33-1 in the Senate.