The online hub of the Missouri School Administrators Coalition.

Bulletin #4: Tax Bills Move to Floor in House & Senate

HB 1253, HB 1295 and SB 509 all cleared their respective committees last week and are set to be debated by both the House and Senate this week. 

HB 1295 and SB 509 looks very familiar. Both of these bills contain the sweeping tax code changes that HB 253 from last year contained. The only difference is that all offset to revenue (online sales tax collection) that were contained in HB 253 have been removed, making both bill substantially more expensive than last years bill. 

The School Administrators Coalition opposes both SB 509 and HB 1295. 

HB 1253 will also come up for consideration in the House of Representatives this week. This bill is limited to a 50% deduction based on a business's federal tax rate. With the volatility of the federal tax code, this results in significant uncertainty in calculating the cost of HB 1253. The cost of HB 1253 could be anywhere from $72-$356 million according to the legislative estimates. The Missouri Budget Project estimates that the cost of the bill could range from $462-$698 million. 

Because of this uncertainty, and the threat of significant cost, SAC is opposed to HB 1253 at this time. Below, you will find two attachments that contain memos that can be distributed to legislators stating our position to HB 1253 and SB 509 & HB 1295.

HB1295/SB509 MEMO

HB1253 MEMO

Pearce Transfer Bill Heard in Committee

SB 493, sponsored by Senate Education Chairman David Pearce (R - Warrensburg), was heard on Wednesday afternoon last week. The bill makes significant changes to the school accreditation process as well as changes to the current student transfer process to allow districts that receive transfer students to set reasonable class size limits. 

SAC has not taken a position on SB 493 at this time. While there are several provisions of Sen. Pearce's bill that are supported by administrators, significant problems exist with the bill. Like all of the bills that have been filed addressing transfers, SB 493 does not set up a sustainable transfer plan and will force bankruptcy of a district when it becomes classified as Unaccredited. The practical ramifications of an unsustainable transfer system ultimately results in forced consolidation of school districts across the state, causing significant financial ramifications to schools across the state of Missouri and particularly to districts that surround these bankrupt districts. 

SAC will continue to work with Sen. Pearce and the Education Committee to ask that more provisions of A New Path to Excellence be included in any bill that moves. The top priority to be changed in all the bills is stop transfers and replace it with a system of supports and interventions to help improve the performance of a struggling school district. 

The committee is scheduled to hold all bills dealing with transfers for several weeks in an attempt to resolve issues that exist with all of the plans. Also, the State Board of Education is set to hear a recommendation from Commissioner Chris Nicastro at their February board meeting. The commissioner is currently developing her recommended plan to address the transfer situation. It is assumed that the state board will adopt a plan at their March meeting. 

House Committee Set to Hear Resolution Increasing Bond Limit

The House Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education is set to hear testimony next Wednesday, February 5th at 8:00 am on HJR 42, a bill allowing school districts to raise their bonded indebtedness from 15% to 25%. The committee hearing will begin bright and early in House Hearing Room 6 located in the basement of the Missouri State Capitol.

The School Administrators Coalition supports HJR 42.

The resolution changing Missouri's Constitution, if approved by the legislature, would be submitted to a vote of the people during the 2014 November election. If approved by Missouri voters, school districts would be allowed to submit two questions to their local taxpayers that would...

1.) Allow the district to raise their indebtedness up to a limit of 25% of taxable tangible property. This change would require a simple majority vote.

2.) Actually set the specified amount the district would be allowed to be indebted. This question would be consistent with the current requirements of 4/7 or 2/3 majority of their voters to approve the increase.

Both requirements would need to be approved for the change to go into effect.

With the committee hearing beginning at 8:00 am, it is difficult for administrators to attend.  If you would like to submit written support of HJR 42, please send your thoughts to advocacy@mcsa.org and we will submit them to committee members at the hearing on Wednesday morning.

Appointees to State Board of Education Held Up For One Week

It appears a couple of new appointees to the State Board of Education will have to wait at least one more week before they officially begin their term on the board. In a move that is based largely on infighting between Governor Jay Nixon's office and the Legislature, the appointments of Vic Lenz and Joe Driskill were not confirmed last week by the Senate Committee that is responsible for vetting all candidates before they are voted on by the entire Senate. John Martin, another appointee to the board,  has yet to be considered. It is expected that he will be in front of the committee this week. 

During the questioning, several questions were brought up regarding DESE's handling of recent issues, including implementation of Common Core and the bidding process for an out of state entity to put together a plan for the Kansas City School District. 

For more information regarding this issue, check out the following news story from the Associated Press.

http://www.newstribune.com/news/2014/jan/30/nixons-nominees-delayed-senate-panel/