Legislative Update - 2024, Week 11

By Otto Fajen 
MNEA Legislative Director


Both the House and Senate have adjourned for a week of spring break and will reconvene in full session on March 25. Both chambers are scheduled to meet once during the break for a technical session. Upon return, the legislature will have eight weeks of session remaining before the session concludes on May 17.


The Senate gave final approval to an omnibus version of an education bill, SS#2/SCS/SB 727 (Andrew Koenig), on March 14 by a vote of 19-10. The bill has now been moved to the House for further consideration.

SB 727 expands the existing tax credit voucher enacted in 2021 and authorizes the establishment of charter schools in any district in Boone County without sponsorship by the local school board. The Association recognizes that some positive provisions were added during floor action but remains opposed to the bill.

The Association remains concerned that the bill moves the state in the wrong direction by expanding unaccountable charter schools into more communities without consulting the local school board while also expanding vouchers that divert resources away from students in neighborhood public schools in favor of a few students attending private institutions with little oversight or accountability.

The Senate added some increases in state funding for public schools, primarily through adjustments to the basic funding formula. Additions include paying based on an equal weight of student enrollment and student attendance, doubling the amounts of Small Schools Grants, doubling the fraction of low-income pre-K students eligible to be counted for state aid, and revising local effort calculations in the school formula. The fiscal note for the perfected bill is incomplete due to a lack of timely agency responses, but the bill is thought to increase state funding for schools by roughly $500 million when fully implemented.

Also included are a number of provisions from other bills filed this session, including:

  • HCS/HB 1447 (Ed Lewis) regarding the minimum teachers' salary, teacher certification, salary schedule placement, Career Ladder, and other teacher recruitment and retention provisions,
  • HB 2287 (Phil Christofanelli) regarding full-time virtual schools,
  • SB 762 (Karla May) regarding suicide prevention programs in secondary grades,
  • SB 784 (Doug Beck) regarding extra funding for districts with a five-day week and requiring district approval of a four-day school week in charter counties and cities over 30,000,
  • SB 857 (Karla May) regarding a home reading program for elementary grade literacy,
  • SB 885 (Steven Roberts) regarding filling school board vacancies in "urban" school districts and St. Louis City,
  • SB 918 (Ben Brown) regarding home school activity participation,
  • SB 1286 (Mike Bernskoetter) regarding PSRS working after retirement, to allow persons on disability retirement to work and earn up to 50% pay for the position and reducing the penalty for exceeding 550 hours to the actual amount of excess earnings, rather than a full month's pension,
  • SB 1393 (Cindy O'Laughlin) regarding proposals to establish recovery high schools,
  • SB 1394 (Cindy O'Laughlin) regarding a new online teacher certification program solely for teachers in private schools.


The House Elections and Elected Officials Committee heard SS#4/SJR 74 (Mary Elizabeth Coleman) on March 12. The Association opposes the joint resolution and remains concerned that the resolution will make it more difficult for Missouri citizens to bring forward and gain approval on measures of interest brought by the initiative petition process.

SJR 74 raises the approval requirement for those constitutional amendments to add a concurrent majority in a least a majority of Missouri's Congressional districts. The measure would leave a questionable mismatch for measures submitted by the legislature, as these proposals would become effective with just the current simple majority requirement.


The Senate Committee on Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence heard SB 1372 (Bill Eigel) on March 11. The bill enacts new provisions relating to immigration status. The bill would prohibit resident students who graduate from Missouri high schools from enrolling in a public college if they are considered not lawfully present. The Association supports access to higher education for in-state residents regardless of immigration status as well as paths to legalization for undocumented high school graduates. The Association opposes the bill.


The committee met on March 12 to hear five bills:

SB 882 (Greg Razer) would revise the required school year start date for school districts in which a charter school operates.    

SB 1056 (Rusty Black) would increase the maximum gross income for eligibility for the Fast Track Workforce Incentive Grant.

SB 1153 (Angela Mosley) would require DESE to conduct safety assessments of all public schools in the state.

SB 1203 (Mary Elizabeth Coleman) to establish provisions relating to transparency of school staff training, instructional, and curricular materials relating to diversity, equity, inclusion, race, ethnicity, sex, or bias. The Association is concerned that the bill may divert school resources from students and schools to fund the costs of compliance lawsuits. The bill anticipates the uncertainty the new requirements will cause and authorizes schools to request an interpretation from the AG's office to verify whether particular materials are subject to the mandates of the act.

SB 1208 (Andrew Koenig) to require that the State Board of Education shall cause its annual report to be published on the DESE website.


The committee heard two bills on March 13:

HB 2696 (Kathy Steinhoff) to allow pre-K students identified with developmental delays to continue services through both the kindergarten and first grade year. Currently, Missouri rules require that services must end after kindergarten unless the student has a specific identification of a disability and an IEP. The Association supports the bill.

HB 2562 (Kurtis Gregory) to allow high school athletes to negotiate and receive compensation for the use of their name, image, and likeness after signing a letter of intent to enroll with a Missouri educational institution.

The committee also voted to approve two bills:

HB 1945 (Brenda Shields) to modify provisions on teacher externships was approved as a Consent Bill.

HCS/HB 1761 (Justin Hicks) to require school districts to comply with enhanced safety and security standards regarding school facilities and operations. The fiscal impact of the bill is not clearly estimated by the bill's fiscal note, but the Association is concerned that the original bill represents a significant and potentially unfunded mandate.

View past Legislative Updates at www.mnea.org/legupdate