November 26, 2014

House Speaker wants to bundle education issues (AUDIO)

Beside the budget, education will be one of the primary topics in the 2012 legislative session. The primary issue is what some are calling a crisis, in the need to reform the foundation formula.

House Speaker Steven Tilley (R-Perryville) addresses the media with House Republicans following day one of the 2012 regular session.

On the opening day House Speaker Steven Tilley (R-Perryville) outlined his “Blueprint for Missouri,” highlighting key issues in several areas including education. Along with the foundation formula it lists reform of laws governing student transfers and establishment of tuition tax credits for students in unaccredited districts, expansion of charter schools statewide, and creation of what Republicans are calling the “Missouri Teacher Quality Act.”

Tilley plans to tie those issues together. “We feel like if we’re going to do the Turner fix, which we believe we should, if we’re going to rework the foundation formula because it was never intended to be partially funded, which we should, we also believe in return we should get some long sought after reforms which we think are important.”

The Perryville republican says it’s time some of these issues are passed. “The reality is that we’ve tried to achieve some meaningful reforms, and the ‘educrats’ and the groups that just say ‘no’ to everything just keep saying no, and so we haven’t been able to get over the hill on the education reform and I think this may present a window that we can do it.”

Representative Rick Stream (R-Kirkwood) discusses education issues with the media after day one of the new session.

Representative Rick Stream (R-Kirkwood) discussed the issue of charter schools. Last year he sponsored a bill that would have expanded them in unaccredited and provisionally accredited districts. “That’ll be the starting point for this year. We may scale it back to just unaccredited, because it barely passed the house last year and it didn’t get through the Senate.”

Stream says he is also sensitive to issues that neighboring school districts may face in having to accept students from failing districts. “I was on the Kirkwood School Board for twelve years. My brother is the president of the Kirkwood School Board now. We’re very cognizant of the influx of students that will come to the county school districts of St. Louis County.”

Stream filed legislation in 2011 that he called the “Turner fix.” It was “…to limit the number (of students being transferred) to the space that the school districts had available at the time.”

The other issues included in Tilley’s “Blueprint for Missouri” include:

Taxpayers

  • Passage of a balanced budget with no new taxes
  • Improve government transparency by requiring disclosure of county debt
  • Passage of a Taxpayer Protection Act that constitutionally limits the growth of government
  • Create savings by implementing recommendations of the Missouri Working Group on Sentencing and Corrections

Jobs

  • Reform Missouri’s workers’ compensation law
  • Ensure solvency and reform Missouri’s Second Injury Fund
  • Reform Missouri employment discrimination laws
  • Institute ‘loser pays’ law and reform Missouri’s joint and several liability law
  • Establish the Missouri Entrepreneur Resource Network to provide resources for entrepreneurs
  • Reform Missouri prevailing wage laws

Schools

  • Reform Missouri’s education foundation formula
  • Create Missouri Teacher Quality Act
  • Reform student transfer laws in response to Turner decision and establish tuition tax credits for students in unaccredited districts
  • Expand charter schools statewide

Values

  • Protect Missouri pharmacists right of conscience from providing abortion drugs
  • Review Missouri mandatory reporter law to ensure children are protected
  • Expand college savings options for Missouri families
  • Require driver’s license tests to be administered in English
  • Establish photo identification requirement for voting
  • Establish steady source of funding for Missouri Veterans homes

AUDIO:  Listen to House Speaker Steven Tilley’s opening day address – 12 mins, 37 seconds