By J.B. Connoley of KRES radio

State Representative Nate Walker (R-Kirksville) is fighting against a proposed expansion of charter schools statewide. He calls the move an attack on rural school districts that would further drain money from them.

Representative Nate Walker (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

“Right now, we have a hard time meeting the needs of our public schools in our state. We don’t fund them as far as the full foundation formula,” says Walker. “I’m just very alarmed that they want to bring this on out into the rural areas.”

State Rep. Rebecca Roeber (R-Lee’s Summit) is proposing the measure.
“She, I think is misguided. Maybe that’s what she wants for her schools. Maybe Lee’s Summit schools are failing. But out here in the rural areas and I meet with my school superintendents throughout my district and throughout north Missouri and northeast Missouri. They’re focused on what’s right and good for our students,” says Walker. “With the good teachers that they have placed in the schools, we’re taking kids and graduating them and they’re going to do whatever they want to do.”

Some charter school supporters say they want other options because public schools are failing. They want to avoid having their children attend one of those districts.

“It’s the public schools that educate everyone,” says Walker. “It’s important that we have the funding to make sure our public schools throughout the state are in good shape and have the adequate funding to give them the opportunities to teach students.”

Missouri’s charter schools are currently limited to St. Louis and Kansas City school districts, and any that are unaccredited.

The measure is being considered by a Missouri House committee.