Missouri Legislative Session Summary 2024



The 2024 Regular Session of the General Assembly ended on May 17. The House convened on the final day of session and approved eleven Senate bills. The Senate adjourned immediately after convening. Stalling tactics blocked all Senate action on the preceding day. Senate dysfunction resulted in few bills passing this session. However, a number of education provisions were enacted, primarily in SB 727 (Andrew Koenig).

The Association appreciates the support of the many members who participated in Missouri NEA's legislative advocacy throughout the session during this challenging time. Stay tuned for a more comprehensive final session summary update within the next week.

For more detailed information on other legislation, visit https://www.mnea.org/get-involved/take-action-your-voice-matters to view legislative updates and other related information.



The House rejected the Senate's request for conference on SS#4/SJR 74 (Mary Elizabeth Coleman) on May 16 and asked the Senate to take up and pass the House version. The measure was not taken up in the Senate and died on the final day of session.

The Association opposed the joint resolution and believes the resolution would have made it more difficult for Missouri citizens to bring forward and gain approval on measures of interest brought by the initiative petition process.

Senate Democrats staunchly opposed the measure all session, particularly versions with the so-called ballot candy. Meanwhile, "Freedom Caucus" members delayed Senate progress this session on key issues such as FRA and the budget to leverage a vote on an IP measure.




Governor Parson signed SS#2/SCS/SB 727 (Andrew Koenig) into law on May 7. The Association opposed the bill and appreciates the many Association members who conveyed their opposition and urged Governor Parson to veto the bill.

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. Most provisions of the bill go into effect on the normal effective date of August 28, 2024. However, the provisions requiring public vote in certain districts on school calendars with a four-day week will become effective for the 2026-27 school year.

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 many additional provisions during floor debate. The bill includes increases in the state formula calculation for public schools. 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 certain local effort calculations in the school formula. The updated fiscal note for the perfected bill indicates a cost to General Revenue of $468 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, including increasing the minimum teachers' salary from $25,000 to $40,000,

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 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 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 agreed to the Senate Substitute versions of the budget bills on May 10, completing passage of next year's state budget just hours prior to the 6 pm deadline for passing those bills. The Governor has line-item veto authority regarding the various items in each of the budget bills.

The final version of the budget includes the $120.6 million in increased formula funding from lottery funds as contained in the House version of the budget. This formula increase is required by the increase of the State Adequacy Target (SAT) due to changes in MSIP 6. The formula increase to fully fund in the 25-26 school year is estimated at $300 million.

The budget will also fully fund pupil transportation for next school year. The budget will also continue state funding for teacher pay baseline grants for districts with starting salaries below $40K. These higher salaries are now required under SB 727 beginning in school year 25-26. The higher education budget includes a 3% core funding increase for Missouri public institutions plus $54 million for the MoExcels workforce training program.

The final budget made significant cuts in Medicaid funding programs, and those programs may run out of funds as soon as this December. Accordingly, a special session seems likely this fall to pass a supplemental budget bill to sustain those programs. SB 727 will also increase K-12 expenditures next fiscal year. Those increases are not provided for in the final budget, and a supplemental will be needed at some point in the coming fiscal year for those items as well.



The legislature approved SS/SB 748 (Lincoln Hough). The bill would extend the healthcare provider tax (also known as federal reimbursement allowance or FRA) for five years. Extension of the FRA provider tax is an essential part of funding the state budget. The combined budget impact of the FRA and federal matching funds is more than $4 billion, and the adopted version of next year's budget assumes that these funds will be available to fund Medicaid services.



The legislature approved SS/SB 756 (Tony Luetkemeyer). The bill revises the senior citizen property tax credit enacted in 2023 in SB 190. The bill clarifies that the homestead credit starts when a county acts to adopt the optional property tax credit and is not retroactive to a prior year when a taxpayer might have otherwise become eligible based on age qualification.

The bill also clarifies that a taxpayer must be 62 years or older to qualify, rather than being Social Security-eligible. This change would ensure that otherwise-eligible PSRS retirees could qualify for the credit. Qualifying taxpayers must also not have delinquent taxes to qualify. The Senate also adopted an amendment providing that the additional value of new construction and improvements on qualified properties would be subject to taxation, but such additional taxation would then be frozen in the same manner as provided for the existing, qualified property.



SB 727 enacts the provisions of HB 2287 (Phil Christofanelli). This bill makes minor revisions to clarify the new structure of accountability, enrollment, participation, and finance created for full-time virtual schools in 2022 by SS/HCS/HB 1552 (Richey). The Association supports the House version of the bill. The legislature also passed HB 2287, and the Senate added minor changes to provisions in SB 727 regarding regulation of home schools and the necessary pupil transportation funding needed for the school voucher program to continue operation.



SB 727 enacted provisions like the HCS version of HB 1447 (Ed Lewis). This bill pertains to minimum teacher salaries and related provisions regarding teacher recruitment and retention.

Beginning in the 2025-26 school year, the minimum teacher's salary increases from $25,000 to $40,000. For teachers with a master's degree and at least ten years of experience, this act increases the minimum salary from $33,000 to $46,000 for the 2025-26 school year and further increases such salary by $1,000 each year until the 2027-2028 school year, when the minimum shall be $48,000.

The bill provides an annual inflationary increase for both salary levels up to a maximum of three percent per year, beginning in the 2028-29 school year. The bill also creates an ongoing grant fund that could provide state funding to support the salary increases.

SB 727 also contains provisions from HB 1447 to specify how a district may place teachers on the salary schedule for hard-to-staff areas and hard-to-staff schools. The bill also eliminates the high-stakes entry exam for teacher prep programs and revises the "Urban Flight and Rural Needs Scholarship Program" by increasing the number of scholarships and focusing them on teachers agreeing to serve in hard-to-staff subjects and hard-to-staff schools.

SB 727 also includes the language of HB 1786 (Brad Pollitt) to allow a certified teacher to earn an additional certification after successfully teaching in that area for two years upon evaluation and recommendation from the employing district and passing a background check.



SB 727 also enacts several increases in the state formula calculation for public schools. Additions include paying based on an equal weight of student enrollment and student attendance, doubling the amount of Small Schools Grants from $15 million to $30 million, doubling the fraction of low-income pre-K students eligible to be counted for state aid from 4% to 8% of enrollment, revising certain local effort calculations in the school formula, and adding a formula aid increase for districts with a five-day school week that will be a 1% increase for the first two school years and a 2% increase thereafter.





Despite the many bills filed on the topic, the legislature did not enact new law this session pertaining to honesty in education, parent access to school information, book bans, bathroom mandates, or any other similar mandates. The Association had concerns that those bills would adversely affect the freedom of teachers to provide the honest education our students deserve and interfere with existing policies respecting student and school privacy. The Association opposed the related bills on these topics.



The legislature again considered bills seeking to reduce the negative effects of the misuse and overuse of standardized testing. HB 1851 (Paula Brown) and SB 814 (Jill Carter) both contained related provisions to address this issue. The Association supported both bills. Neither bill passed, but both bills were voted out of committee with strong committee support. This issue is sure to factor into education discussions next session.

The bills would require the State Board of Education to recognize at least two national school accreditation organizations and allow districts to choose to gain accreditation by approval of such a group. The bill also directs the State Board to revise the MAP assessment and restrict the use of the MAP to only the purposes required under federal law. The bill requires school districts to develop or adopt local assessments and allows local assessment results to be part of a district's school report card.

In contrast to the other bills on the topic, HB 2284 (Haffner) would have coded MSIP 6 requirements in statute and dictated a precise grading scheme for accreditation of school district. The Association believes this measure would undermine local control and opposed the bill.



HB 1989 (Pollitt) and SB 1051 (Curtis Trent) would have created a public-school open enrollment program, but the bills did not pass. The Missouri NEA believes that public school choice plans with state funding may harm students and our public schools unless essential criteria are in place for implementing, monitoring, and evaluating their effectiveness. The Association opposed both SB 1051 and the perfected version of HB 1989 based on this concern.

The bills would not have transferred local funds from the sending district. School districts would have the option to specify the number of transfer students they are willing to receive. SB 1051 would have authorized transfers to charter schools or to full-time virtual schools, while HB 1989 did not. Neither SB 1051 nor the perfected version of HB 1989 included specific provisions to mitigate the potential for open enrollment to increase racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic segregation. Experience from other states has shown that open enrollment, particularly if including charter schools, tends to further increase segregation.

The Association remains concerned that some students may be left behind in such a transfer plan, particularly if funding is not provided to support the participation of students with special needs and at-risk students. Ongoing appropriations to the state fund created to support those transportation and special education expenses would be needed to implement such a bill.



HB 2876 (Ben Baker) would have enacted new provisions regarding public sector bargaining. The cumbersome new language would interfere with existing bargaining in school districts and local governments across the state. The bill also would have prohibited public employers from deducting union dues as directed by union members who are employees. The Association opposed the bill.



SB 733 (Eigel) would have eliminated local taxes on personal property, including school taxes, in most jurisdictions. The bill would have incrementally reduced the assessment ratio for personal property to offset all increases in real property taxes. The bill would stagnate local school revenues and local property taxes for many assessment cycles.  The Association opposed the bill.



SB 1062 (Mary Elizabeth Coleman) would have removed the one cent of Prop C sales tax for schools currently applied to groceries. The regular state sales tax does not currently apply to groceries, and very few states still have state sales tax on groceries. Such a tax is considered regressive since it has a proportionally higher impact on low-income taxpayers. However, repeal of this portion of Prop C sales tax will remove about $154 million per year from the School District Trust Fund. If this measure is adopted, the Association urges the legislature to offset this reduction in school revenues with another revenue source.



HB 2274 (Travis Smith) would have repealed Missouri's corporate income tax over a period of four years. When fully implemented, the bill is estimated to reduce state revenues by $884 million. This corporate income tax cut would further limit the capacity of the legislature to invest in public education and other vital services. The Association opposed the bill.



HB 1937 (Owen) would have enacted additional provisions regarding the investments of all Missouri public pension systems, including PSRS and PEERS, regarding proxy voting and their fiduciary investment priority.

The PSRS Board of Trustees has a fiduciary duty to invest for the benefit of the members of the Systems. The bill would prevent pension systems from considering environmental, social, or governance factors in a manner that would override their fiduciary duties. The provisions of the bill are consistent with the current practices of PSRS and PEERS and would not interfere with the operation of the Systems.



SB 1164 (Rusty Black) and HB 1758 (Brad Pollitt) would have created an educational stabilization fund. Money appropriated to this fund could be used to cover the cost of full funding of the school formula in years when actual revenues are less than the estimates on which the budget is based. The Association supported this proactive step to create a more sustainable state budget and sustained commitment to education funding.



HCS/HB 1569 (Ann Kelley) contained several provisions to increase support for higher education students. The bill creates STEM grants of up to $2000 for students pursuing degrees in STEM fields. The bill creates a Career Tech certificate program to allow A+ eligible students to use A+ funds for certificate programs such as EMT, CDL, and LPN certificates that are not currently A+ eligible. The bill increases maximum award amounts for Access Missouri grants and requires public institutions to offer undergraduate course credit for any student who receives a score of 4 or higher on an IB exam. The bill also increased the maximum allowed income to qualify for Fast Track workforce grants. The Association supported the bill.



HB 2003 (Cody Smith), the higher education budget bill, requires public institutions of higher education to charge the higher, international tuition rate to any undocumented student, including those who have attended and graduated from Missouri public schools. The Association believes that a Missouri high school diploma or high school equivalency credential should provide documentation for undocumented students for verification of in-state tuition status. The Association opposes this provision in HB 2003.



SB 1075 (Andrew Koenig) and HB 2310 (Cameron Parker) would have increased the amount of lower-division core curriculum credit hours that a student may transfer among public institutions of higher education from forty-two credit hours to sixty credit hours. A transferring student who completes the sixty credit-hour block of courses at one institution shall receive academic credit toward the degree program, rather than simply receiving academic credit.



HB 2612 (Tricia Byrnes) would have created an advisory council to conduct a review of the best practices for the use of technology in instruction. This review will include the impacts on behavior and discipline, special education, early childhood brain development, and reading and writing skills. The Association supported this proactive approach to provide research and guidance on technology best practices to schools and educators across the state.



HB 2696 (Kathy Steinhoff) would have allowed 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 supported the bill.



SB 819 (Ben Brown) would have required MSHSAA to allow home school students to participate in activities or member schools would lose state funding. This provision splits the home school population into a category for those wishing to be eligible for statewide activity participation and a second category for those wishing to be excluded from that option.



HB 1991 (Sherri Gallick) would have required public schools to develop and implement a cardiac emergency response plan. The bill requires coordination with emergency service providers, includes guidelines for the plans, and requires relevant training for appropriate personnel. The Missouri NEA believes that all schools must have written plans that delineate procedures regarding emergencies. The Association also believes that education employees should have the opportunity for training in CPR and the proper use of defibrillator, Naloxone, and epinephrine dispensers by qualified personnel. The Association supported the bill.



HB 1688 (Reedy) would require the State Board to create a driver education program that public high schools, including charter high schools, will include in high school health curricula, but the bill did not pass. The program will include habits and skills needed for the safe operation of motor vehicles, distracted driving hazards, and traffic stop procedures. The program does not require the operation of a vehicle.



HB 1502 (Bangert) would have required students to receive instruction in cursive handwriting.



HB 1513 (Jim Murphy) would require DESE to create a media literacy and critical thinking pilot program. The program would address media literacy, develop strategies for student learning in classroom curricula, and demonstrate various literacy strategies.



SB 1099 (Washington) would have granted greater freedom for student journalists. The bill includes anti-retaliation provisions to protect student communications sponsors and other staff from retaliation by boards or administration for granting students greater editorial latitude as provided by the bills. The Association supported the bill.



HB 1518 (Hudson) would have prevented a public college from limiting recognition to belief-based student associations that require leaders to adhere to its beliefs, practice requirements or standards of conduct, but the bill did not pass. The Association believes that organizations are strengthened by offering memberships on a nondiscriminatory basis. The Association opposed the bill.



SB 761 (Karla May) would have excused students from attendance at elementary and secondary schools if the students are unable to attend due to mental or behavioral health concerns.



HB 1663 (Tara Peters) and SB 812 (Mary Elizabeth Coleman) would have required parental consent for changes to individualized education programs (IEPs).     



HB 1715 (Tricia Byrnes) would have required each school district to adopt specific anti-bullying policies, including restricting zero-tolerance disciplinary policies for any student that is a victim of bullying or is defending a victim of bullying.



SB 787 (Razer) would revise the Missouri Human Rights Act regarding employment, disability, and housing to make discrimination based upon a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity an unlawful discriminatory practice. The Association supported the bill.



HB 1568 (Ann Kelley) would have granted flexibility to schools for certain school employee training requirements. Schools may place current annual requirements on a rotating basis based on school and employee needs. The Association believes this will allow more efficient use of staff training time and better meet student and school needs. The Association supported the bill.



HB 1744 (Renee Reuter) would have changed the filing location for school board candidates to the county election clerk's office, rather than the school board office. As filed, this change only applies to school districts located entirely within a single county. HB 1604 (Dave Hinman) would have changed the filing window for school board candidates by moving both the starting and ending dates one week later. The result would be a filing window that extends from mid-December to the first week of January.