May 25, 2021
The Honorable Mike Parson
Governor of Missouri
P.O. Box 720
Jefferson City, MO 65102
Dear Governor Parson,
With over 160 years of support for Missouri students, teachers and communities, the Missouri State Teachers Association respectfully asks that you veto House Bill 349 to ensure all Missouri students have the opportunity for a world class education. MSTA has consistently opposed the use of public funds for private education, believing that public schools contribute significantly to the national unity, common purpose, equality of opportunity and the perpetuation of democracy, and should be nurtured by all citizens.
The voucher system created in HB349 is at odds with the constitutional duty of legislature to establish and maintain free public schools for the gratuitous instruction of all persons. A veto of this legislation is warranted due to the provisions in the bill that allow entities that accept Missouri education savings account dollars to discriminate against students, as well as language that explicitly prohibits the control or supervision by any governmental agency over any qualified school in which a qualified student enrolls. This prohibition on oversight on public monies creates an eminent danger for misuse of public funds in a $50 million government program. HB349 creates an unregulated and unaccountable system that creates further bureaucracy and a diversion of public funds that would go to newly established education assistance organizations, and evoke detrimental risk for further waste, fraud and abuse of Missourians tax dollars.
HB349 is bad public policy for Missouri. MSTA strongly recommends and requests that you veto this harmful bill. Please do so to ensure that the unregulated and unaccountable system of diverting public funds to private education does not become law in Missouri and expose the state to many of the problems and liabilities that have arisen in other states.
Missouri State Teachers Association