Wednesday, October 22, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY, MO. (AP) -- Parents and educators pack a Capitol committee room for bills providing state aid for disabled students to switch schools.

JEFFERSON CITY, MO. (AP) -- Parents and educators pack a Capitol committee room for bills providing state aid for disabled students to switch schools.

Lawmakers are considering two proposals. One would provide state vouchers for public school students with mental disabilities to go to different public or private schools.

The other bill would provide state tax credits for donations to nonprofit groups that give scholarships for disabled students to attend other public or private schools.

Several parents of children with autism passionately pleaded for the bills during a Senate committee hearing Wednesday. They said children with special needs don't always get help from their local schools.

Several public school officials warned the bills could take money away from their schools.

(Copyright ©2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Why We Needed The Scholarship Tax Credit

Talking Points for critical Special Needs Legislation: Missouri House Bill 1886

If a child receives early intervention, there is an 80% chance they will be able to return to mainstream public schools within 3-5 years.

Many parents, members of Missouri’s general assembly, various education and special needs organizations are supporting HB 1886.

The bill creates a scholarship tax credit program for the developmentally disabled.

Individuals and corporations would be able to receive an 80% tax credit for contributions into a special fund.

The dollars going into the fund would be made available to qualifying students to use as tuition reimbursement. Scholarships would be made available if an applicant meets certain criteria.

There are 130,000 students across Missouri with an IEP (individualized education plan).

A recent amendment to the bill has placed a cap of 10% of IEP students are eligible for the scholarship, in response to concerns that too many children leaving a school could make it hard to plan.

One of the goals of HB1886 is to remain as broad as possible to ensure that the scholarship fund effectively meets the needs of many students.

A report from the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Autism has lead to a call for action that requires the best, most innovative answers for families of developmentally disabled students.

Changes in public policies that support improved special needs education have won tremendous support in several states around the country. The success of the legislative efforts in Florida, Ohio and other states, along with the high degree of parent satisfaction with the improved education options that become available to them, has encouraged many people to unite around our legislative efforts right here in Missouri.

This legislation is especially important for families whose children want to stay in mainstream public schools, but who may need targeted, short-term intervention to help them catch up to their grade level.

News Alert: Governor Blunt has announced $175,000 in Youth Opportunities Program tax credits to Catholic Charities Community Services. This is significant in demonstrating that Missouri supports tax credits, administered by the Department of Economic Development, for private organizations committed to Missouri’s youth.

Special Needs Scholarship Tax Credits

Summary of the Introduced Bill

HB 1886 -- Special Needs Scholarship Tax Credits

Sponsor: Scharnhorst

Beginning January 1, 2008, this bill establishes Bryce's Law which authorizes a tax credit for an individual who donates to a scholarship-granting organization if the donation is not claimed on the taxpayer's federal income tax return. The tax credit may be taken against income tax, corporate franchise tax, insurance premium tax, financial institutions tax, and express company tax liability. The credit will be for 80% of the amount of the contribution but cannot exceed 50% of the taxpayer's state tax liability, up to $800,000 per year, and is nonrefundable but may be carried forward for four years or transferred or sold for between 75% and 100% of its par value.

Eligibility standards for students receiving scholarships are attendance at a public school with an individualized education plan. Scholarship-granting organizations must meet requirements for fiscal soundness, percentage of revenues devoted to educational scholarships, and public reporting. Private schools qualify to accept scholarship students by meeting specified requirements including employee background checks and providing data as requested, among others. Scholarships may also be used at a public school outside the student's resident school district. The bill specifies how scholarship checks will be distributed.

The Department of Economic Development must conduct a study to measure student achievement, satisfaction with the program, and its fiscal impact on the state and public schools and provide the General Assembly with a final copy of the evaluation by December 31, 2009. The department cannot use public money for the study and may contract with one or more qualified researchers who have previous experience evaluating similar programs.

The provisions of the bill will expire December 31 six years from the effective date.

Copyright (c) Missouri House of Representatives


Missouri House of Representatives
94th General Assembly, 2nd Regular Session
Last Updated October 15, 2008 at 3:11 pm

Monday, October 20, 2008

Grisamore Claims He "Knows More Than Anyone About Struggles Facing Families"

Republican Grisamore Claims He "Knows More Than Anyone About Struggles Facing Families" Despite His Big Salary

What They Really Voted Against/Children With Autism Receiving An Appropriate Education

Grisamore goes around saying that he is the best that the state has to offer for families affected by autism. But, he and his Republican buddies voted against a bill that would have given families affected by autism the choice of schools when their schools were unable or unwilling to provide the services that are needed.

Republicans Kraus, Grisamore and Yates have voted against their party on that issue during the last session.

They said they feared what would happen if "open enrollment" allowed Kansas City students to attend Lee's Summit schools.

Yates said if students from Kansas City were allowed to attend Lee's Summit schools, it would "reduce our quality of education in the suburbs."

Turk cautioned his Republican colleagues not to carry that idea too far.

"The kids in Kansas City are our kids too," Turk said.

He said parents should get vouchers to send their children to another school if theirs is not performing - but only to another school in the same district.

Yates said education was about more than money.

"We have spent lots of money in the Kansas City School District with no results," he said.

Grisamore told the Tribune that "One aspect of the bill that was "lost to compromise," Grisamore said, "were tax credits for parents to send their children to another school if their local public school wasn't able to provide an adequate education."

"We couldn't find common ground between the public educators and the school-of-choice folks," Grisamore said.

Grisamore said some lawmakers were nervous about the potential of public funding going to private schools.

What he didn't say is that he voted no on a bill that would have allowed our children the right to go to a school that could provide them services if our school wasn't. That is why the Board and District are endorsing him.

Candidate's Forum And Why Children's Healthcare Is Not Important


In 2005, Missouri made substantial changes to the Medicaid system. The program evolved into Missouri Healthnet last year, but voters at the panel were still concerned with the state of Medicaid in Missouri. “In 2004-05 Medicaid expenditures outpaced education expenditures in Missouri. It was a serious concern,” Grisamore said.

Grisamore said in order to fight for education and protect education in the Lee’s Summit area, the General Assembly had to make some cuts in Medicaid.

“One area I did not agree with was the depth of the Medicaid cuts as they affected our most vulnerable citizens — children, seniors and those with disabilities,” Grisamore said.

But Grisamore said the new Missouri Healthnet is offering greater efficiencies and savings since it was enacted. “A lot has been done, but there is a lot more that needs to be done,” he said. “We need to reduce fraud, misuse and abuse and make sure our most vulnerable citizens are covered.”

Grisamore’s opponent, Norbury, said its not all about user fraud, there is provider fraud that goes on too. “Doctors abuse the system too,” Norbury said. “There was no venture enacted to reduce provider fraud.” Additionally, Norbury said Medicaid needs incentives for people to improve their health. “We need to incentivize people to be healthy — as opposed to not sick,” he said.

Kraus said Missouri needs to cut growth by looking at ways to make healthcare more efficient, which would reduce the cost overall and make sure everyone gets re-certified for Medicaid.

“As people learn the system, they’ll find ways to get around it,” Kraus said. “So we need to keep changing the system.”

Yates said the key to Medicaid reformation is helping its recipients “take ownership for their well-being.” “Why should my taxes pay for the full-coverage of smokers,” Yates said. “We need to be encouraging and educating people to make choices and lead a healthier life.”
Yates also said the use of technology would increase the efficiency in the state’s healthcare system. The new Missouri Healthnet is an entirely Web-based system.

LeVota, the current minority leader of the Missouri House, said the state needs to reinstate the cuts of 2005. “We were in a deficit, but other states focused on coverage. Missouri made cuts,” LeVota said. “Now supposedly there is a surplus. Well that $600 million in surplus is on the backs of the sick.”

LeVota also proposed creating a healthcare policy board and making sure children are insured.

“They are the least expensive to cover and it’s a lot less expensive in the long run and it’s the right thing to do,” he said.


LeVota said in the state government funds for education and healthcare are often competing. But he said it doesn’t have to be an either-or decision.

“We can figure out a way to have great education and great healthcare,” LeVota said. Norbury said funding education is a question of priority.

“We have to want to fund both,” he said. “So let’s focus on the future, which is our children, and have good education and good healthcare.”

But Yates, Kraus and Grisamore said the key to quality education is not all about money. “Look at the Kansas City School District,” Yates said. “We’ve poured money in there and still have gotten no results.”

Yates said the state needs to look at the funding formula, because the current one is unfair to performing districts like Lee’s Summit. “We fund those who do not perform and do not pay their fair share and they have an incentive to remain the same,” Yates said.

Kraus said he proposed a bill last session that would have put term limits on school board members of failing school districts.

“Money is not always the solution for results,” he said.

Grisamore said the state needs to give more credit to growing and performing districts like Lee’s Summit and not penalize them.

“We need to encourage parental involvement. We need to give incentives to teachers. We need to do everything we can to back-up our teachers and our school districts,” Grisamore said.

Jeff's MEC filings

1. Take a look at Grisamore's latest MEC filings. His October quarterly report ignores all his previous contributions and expenses. I don't say it's unethical, but it sure is sloppy and unprofessional for a sitting representative not to be able to fill out his MEC forms. Also look at his debt service committee termination report - where did the money go? and who are the people to whom he owes it, really?

There is a mailer I received from Jeff's folks. You will notice that the picture on the right is a sample that was not paid for to put on commercial works. This is incredibly sloppy (and a copyright violation). Not to mention that it's misleading to be sure.

Questions and Answers (To Those Questions That He Chooses To Answer)

How can you afford to live in a $200,000 house, with eight children, and only make $30,000 per year?

I will say to answer your questoin of how we live in a $200,000 house with such a low salary, we were offered the house right after our daughter died and a significant portion of the house was gifted through the benevolence of friends, family and a foundation. We do not make $100,000 a year as you claimed and never have. We bought that house in 2003 when my salary was much higher and it is difficult to keep up with our mortgage. We have considered downsizing, but want to honor the generosity of those who helped us with the home by trying to stay in it and it is a bad sellers market anyway.

He did ask Jolie Justus if he could be on the Blue Ribbon Panel. He wasn't invited to the Bi-State Autism Initiative meeting. He asked me to get him an invitation. I did. He came and sat two seats away from us so that no one would think that he was affiliated with us. He left early and stopped by and spoke to Jolie Justus. After the meeting was over she came up to us and told us that he asked her if he could be on the Blue Ribbon Panel. He also states that he didn't want to be on the Blue Ribbon Panel because he was going to be on the Missouri Autism Commission. The list for the Missouri Autism Commission just came out and he is not on it.

As for the Autism Blue Ribbon Panel, I did not speak to Senator Justus about letting me on the Commission. Senator Gibbons, who leads the Senate told me he had wished he had known of my interest in autism before the apointments because he would have wanted to appoint me. We did discuss having me added to the panel after the appointments, but I instead plan to serve on the Autism Commission as a House member. It would have been difficult for me though to make all their hearings with my interim commitee and service on the Missouri Children's Services Commission of which I am now serving as Chairman.

He made it appear that his invitation to the ball was a big deal. Anyone can go to the ball and no one needs his personal invitation. We went to the Autism Rally, in Jefferson City, and he stopped two feet in front of us to talk to his talking heads. Then he walked right past us and completely ignored us. He met with us in November of 2006. That was almost 2 years ago. We met at Atlanta Bread Company twice. It should have been three times, but he didn't show up for the third visit after requesting the meeting. He met us at the church once. We met at Dairy Queen once after the meeting of the legislators at the district office. When the Governor came to Children's Mercy he ignored us until the governor spoke with us. Then you acknowledged us. We haven't received correspondence from you in six months except for the email thanking me for inviting you to Beauchamps and you were not invited. We asked you not to campaign that night, after finding out that you were coming and that's exactly what you did. You turned the event into your event and acted as though you had put it together or that we had put it together for you.

From the first meeting in November, to you attending the ball, to the other follow up meetings, I have spent more time with your group than any other constituency, y. Our focus January through May is the legislative session and the three autism bills I am working. My legislative work on autism will continue in future sessions as well in addition to serving on the Commission we are creating. I did not even know you were at the Autism rally. I wish you would have come to me. Had I known you were there, I would have been happy to speak to you.

Here is a portion of his "Urgent Request"

I urgently need your help. To continue my fight for the disabled and their families, I need to raise significant funds for my re-election this year. My ability to influence funding and services for the disabled for years to come is related to how much I can raise for my campaign.

March 31st is an important deadline, as April quarterly reports for campaign financial disclosures will show contributions received through March 31st. Any and all contributions that I can receive by March 31st will greatly help our cause of advocating for the disabled.

My goal is to raise up an army of grassroots supporters by the hundreds and thousands who will stand with me to fight for the disabled and give them a stronger voice in Jefferson City.

My passion driven priorities for the disabled is very innovative and ambitious, but I can't do it without your help. I need an army of grassroots supporters to stand behind my campaign so that I can raise enough funding to assume future chairmanships and leadership in the House.

Contributions of any amount up to and totaling $325 per person in the primary cycle (now through August 5th) and $325 in the general election cycle (8/6 through 11/4). Couples can give up to $650 now in two separate checks for $325. Children 14 and over can do the same.

For those who can't give that much, even $30 is helpful and just $3 can count you among our coalition for the disabled and make a statement as we mobilize an army of supporters to fight and advocate for individuals with disabilities.

Most of his constituents are broke from fighting with the school district that he is in bed with.

Your assumption about my ability to receive campaign funds relating to helping families is misunderstood. I will continue my passion and fight for individuals with disabilities whether I receive contributions from those in the disabilities communities or not. What I was conveying is that the more I receive from the autism and disabilities communities, whether large or small gifts, such as a $5 check I received last week, the more influence I will have for them to effect laws and increase funding for them.

On another note, Grisamore told the Tribune that "One aspect of the bill that was "lost to compromise," Grisamore said, "were tax credits for parents to send their children to another school if their local public school wasn't able to provide an adequate education."

"We couldn't find common ground between the public educators and the school-of-choice folks," Grisamore said.

Grisamore said some lawmakers were nervous about the potential of public funding going to private schools.

What he didn't say is that he voted no on a bill that would have allowed our children the right to go to a school that could provide them services if our school wasn't. That is why the Board and District are endorsing him.

As for the schools, you really need to rethink your assumptions in the interest of those who are in it with you and your ability to influence the schools positively for children with autism and special needs. You write I can't have a strong relationship with the schools and help you. Actually, I can and do. I have a strong relationship with the schools and have their respect and ear. I am also helping you and all groups related to autism through the legislation I am passing into law. What I do is at the state level. We appropriate education funding and pass laws governing schools. We cannot tell R-7 what to do. However, I am working on a future pilot program on autism and special needs for R-7. You wrote in one blog I voted against a bill to help your kids. I have a bill that would help 100% of children with special needs statewide--nearly 140,000--not just up to 10% with autism. Missouri is way behind other states on autism and special needs and we are incorporating best practices and model language from other states and will be progressively incorporating the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Panel--all 36 hopefully, in time.

The Superintendent assured me that Jeff Grisamore didn't have the district's ear and that the meetings between the district and me had nothing to do with Grisamore.

"Rep grisamore is getting ahead of himself. There have been no follow up discussions about any ideas that may have been mentioned in some setting. Honestly, I do not recall discussing this committee but I may have forgotten. It happens. My invitation to discuss the issues is for you only at this time. You and I can discuss together where all of this goes from there. I hope this clarifies my intention. I do not go into this knowing where we will end up but do feel our dialogue has the potential to make us a better district and help you better understand our challenges. I am really looking forward to our meetings."

As for a committee on autism and special needs in R-7, I have spoken to the Superintendent and Board, which relates to why he spoke to you. If that committee is formed, you will have one voice, although I would like to see D on it too, along with others, such as J. That will be up to R-7. Given your antagonism toward me and them, you are most fortunate you are being considered to be on such a committee. I would encourage you to consider changing your approach for the sake of LSASG's credibility and influence with R-7 and beyond. Your current approach is only isolating and alienating yourself from me and others who are doing much to help children with autism and their families.

State Representative Jeff Grisamore (R-Lee's Summit) is facing a tough uphill re-election bid this year. Sources inside the Republican circles tell us that Grisamore is lazy at fundraising and is just not liked by fellow Republicans. He also lacks name recognition.

This may explain why he has resorted to massive funding from the Pay Day Loan Industry:



As I said, the payday checks were unsolicited and from a person helping me on autism, so I was reluctant to reject them, given I seek to restrict that industry. There are some checks, like from the Casino or adult industries that I would refuse outright.

Again, I am sorry you feel offended or let down. At the same time, I hope you realize no one in the Missouri General Assembly is doing more for children with Autism and their families and those that care for them than me and it will continue to be among my top legislative priorities. I am willing to put this behind and work with you if you are willing. If you choose to continue the current antagonism, I cannot do so. The choice is yours.

With you for children with autism,


You have now started getting your charitable donations through a clearing house so that you don't have to make them public.

Alliance Charities, the donor advised fund I direct at Servant Christian Community Foundation (SCCF) Contributions are tax-deductible and you will receive tax receipt from SCCF.

Alliance Charities
c/o Servant Christian Community Foundation
706 N. Lindenwood Drive
Olathe, KS 66062

You can also make secured credit card contributions online at

If you have questions, please call Jeff Grisamore at 816.225.5695 or email him at

Why choose a Giving Fund?

Your SCCF Giving Fund can serve your church or ministry in a wide variety of ways – as a capital fund, endowment, community outreach, or other purpose. Its many benefits include:

Flexibility – Accept all kinds of non-cash gifts – from real estate to business interests to restricted securities – and reduce your legal liability in the process.

Simplicity – Manage all aspects of your Fund online and leave all of the administrative tasks to SCCF (such as liquidation of assets).

Opportunity – Create new opportunities to influence your supporters on planning their giving – and how to get the greatest joy and impact out of their giving.

Privacy – Your Fund is confidential and not subject to public record searches.

Legacy – Deepen the relationship that your supporters have with your church or ministry, and strengthen your church or ministry by implementing a system of financial support for years to come.

Creating A Culture of Generosity
That's the vision behind Servant Christian Community Foundation (SCCF).

SCCF helps people give creatively and efficiently. We provide tools, resources and expertise that enable givers to give more generously and to use the most tax-efficient methods for giving. Our donor advised funds are tailored to accommodate your giving needs. SCCF serves families/individuals, churches, ministries, and professional advisors.

Why a Christian Community Foundation

There are at least ten major reasons why you should seriously consider establishing a Foundation Fund with the Servant Christian Community Foundation. Of course, responsible stewardship and the satisfaction of contributing resources to be used for Christian causes are the most important reasons of all.

1. A Private Foundation Alternative. A Foundation Fund with SCCF is very much like having your own private foundation without the drawbacks. Your Fund can even be personalized, i.e., 'The John Smith Foundation Fund.' By channeling your gifts through SCCF rather than establishing your own private foundation, you avoid costly legal fees, restrictions on contributions, excise taxes, and penalties often associated with private foundations.

2. Give Now, Distribute Later. One of the unique aspects of SCCF is that you can make your charitable contribution, take a current year tax deduction, but elect not to distribute some or all of those funds until a later year. You have up to 10 years before distributions must begin from the SCCF fund you have established.

3. Giving Appreciated Property. You may give non-cash charitable contributions including real property, limited partnerships, stocks, notes, etc. You get your full tax deduction, even if SCCF holds the asset for a period of time before it is converted to cash. To make gifting more simple, SCCF can receive gifts of marketable securities directly into a SCCF brokerage account.

4. Higher Deductions than Private Foundations. Making a donation to SCCF allows you to take a deduction of up to 50% of your adjusted gross income as opposed to 30% if you had your own foundation. Certain gifts to private foundations are limited to cost basis deductions where as the full-appreciated value may be deducted when donated through SCCF.

5. Simplified Giving. SCCF can simplify your giving and save you time by administering the distribution of gifts for you. For instance, should a donor wish to make a large donation of property or stock and wish to divide the proceeds among many different worthy causes, SCCF can sell the property and distribute the proceeds in accordance with your recommendations.

6. Future Giving. SCCF can be named the beneficiary of your Charitable Remainder or Charitable Lead Trusts, and SCCF can be owner and beneficiary of an insurance policy on your life. At your death the proceeds can be used to set up a Foundation Fund for distribution as designated by your children or appointees. The contribution you make to SCCF to pay insurance premiums may be tax deductible.

7. Anonymity. You have the option of making your gift(s) anonymous. The source of a gift to a particular recipient need not be revealed if desired by the donor.

8. Wills/Life Insurance. SCCF can be named in your Will to receive a portion of your estate. In such a case, either your will, or the contract with SCCF signed during your lifetime, can designate the charities to receive the distributions from your Foundation Fund. You can also designate the person, or persons, who will make the distribution decisions regarding your Foundation Fund after your death.

9. Gifts to Needy Individuals. SCCF can assist you in your ministry of benevolence through our affiliate, Helping Hands Ministries, allowing you to make tax-deductible payments to needy individuals who are not related to you

About Servant Christian Community Foundation

SCCF is one of a nationwide network of Local Christian Foundations that are affiliated with The National Christian Foundation (NCF). Since 1982, this network has granted more than $1.6 billion to over 15,000 churches and ministries worldwide.

SCCF offers expert counsel and innovative, flexible giving solutions to help:

Individuals and families make a greater impact with their charitable giving, give practically any asset entrusted to them, and balance their giving with income needs

Churches and ministries offer their supporters creative ways of giving, which can lead to significant new funding for their organization

Professional advisors (financial planners, CPAs, attorneys, and others) present charitable giving expertise to their clients, which turns their practice into a ministry and builds stronger relationships

The National Christian Foundation, with whom SCCF is affiliated, is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA).

Resource Network. You will have access to Christian advisors and fellow donors who can help you think through your stewardship or estate questions:
How much should I leave my children?
Is an endowed family foundation wise?
What happens if a ministry or organization to which I've left money changes direction after I die?
Where do I find Christian attorneys and other Christian professionals?


You can't have a strong relationship with the schools and help us. You have to be neutral in the very least. You promised us that you were going to have a round table with the superintendent and us. That never happened. You promised us that you were going to have a round table with the governor and us in August, 2007. That never happened. Frankly, nothing that you told us that you would do with the district ever happened. There was the evening that one of your counterparts told the district that we were staging a protest at the administration building and you told the district that you would take care of it. You came out to the parking lot and told me that the district had chosen you to stop us. There was never a protest planned and it was just to make us look bad and you look good.


Jeff Grisamore Answers Some Questions

The following is from the Pitch Article Comments. The first paragraph and second paragraphs were in his first comment. The third paragraph is from his second comment. Notice that they do not exactly convey the same message.

I have met with that person and group multiple times—at the Capitol more than once, repeatedly three or more times in area restaurants and at a church where they meet, and have communicated with them by phone and e-mail as well as in education forums—dozens of hours in all.

The input I have received from them has influenced the three autism related bills I have filed this year—two of which are being heard in the health care policy committee this Tuesday. Many other autism and disabilities advocates and groups I work with are greatly dismayed by this and understand that no Missouri legislator is more pro-active on autism and special needs than me—and I am just getting started.

While I have gained much inspiration to advocate for Autism through the multiple meetings and hours I have spent with that group, the three bills I am sponsoring did not come from them. Two of them are recommendations of the Missouri Blue Ribbon Panel and the other autism bill on education was developed in collaboration with educators.