February 12, 2016

Senate leader worries about Senate-House divide (AUDIO)

The ingredients are in place for another year of legislative deadlock one some key issues.  The leader of the state Senate has pinpointed two of them for the session that starts tomorrow.  Senate  President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey of St. Charles puts two issues at the top of the heap: school transfers and .tax credit reform.  But he says “the challenge has always been bridging the divide between the House and the Senate.”   And that’s a big problem already.  Speaker Tim Jones has told the Missourinet’s Mike Lear he sees nothing to fix. 

Kansas City, Normandy, and Riverview Gardens are unaccredited districts.  But eleven other districts, most of them in outstate Missouri, are only provisionally accredited, meaning they are close to losing accreditation.  The state education department says the eleven provisionally accredited districts are the outstate districts of  Calhoun, Caruthersville, Gilliam, Gorin, Hayti, Malta Bend, Spickard, and Swedeborg as well as metro districts  Hickman Mills, Jennings and St. Louis.

 If the legislature does only one thing this year in addition to passing a budget, says Dempsey, solving the problem of student transfers is that one thing. He says school transfers, and the devastating financial effects they can have on districts that have lost their accreditation, are an issue both parties have ignored for years.

The House and Senate have four-and-a-half months to find a way to bridge the gap.

AUDIO: Dempsey interview 5:44