Tuesday, April 16, 2013

District Opposes Virtual Schools

Too many of our students are dropping out of school, being home schooled, or are being sent to private schools because this district can not or will not provide the education and services that they need.  Now they want to limit our students ability to get an education.  It is all or nothing to them.  We MUST send our children to their school or they do not deserve an education.  I'd never send my children back to their schools and I am demanding that our legislators provide alternatives for our children.

"says nothing of the fact that it is bad for students to receive their entire education online without the interaction with other students, teachers and people." Interaction with other students and teachers nearly destroyed my son.

Subject: [R7advocacy] Please consider contacting your representative about House Bill 470 (open enrollment), update on how our reps voted on House Bill 631 (teacher tenure and evaluations) and request for assistance for House Bill 178
R-7 ADVOCACY   April 16, 2013

Dear Friend of Lee's Summit R-7 schools,

We are asking for your help again with House Bill 470, providing an update on how our representatives voted on House Bill 631 and also asking for your assistance with a newer bill – House Bill 178. This week’s issue of “R-7 Advocacy” is coming to your mailbox a day earlier than usual since we do not know when the vote for House Bill 470 will be scheduled yet.

Please consider contacting your House rep THIS WEEK about House Bill 470 (open enrollment bill) which would send state aid to home-school students, reduce the amount of funding available for public schools
There's still time to defeat this bill in the House of Representatives
This bill, which is headed toward its third and final reading in the House, would allow any student to enroll full-time in a virtual charter school. While charter schools are currently limited to St. Louis, Kansas City and any unaccredited school district, House Bill 470 would allow students from across the state to enroll in a virtual charter school.

"Our district's stance has been that Missouri needs to fund its own virtual program and not create virtual charters that allow for open enrollment while diluting state education funding," said Dr. David McGehee, superintendent. "Supporters of this bill have indicated that the total cost would only be around $46 million and that, should the House budget pass, education would receive an additional $65 million dollars – therefore, it will not cost school districts. This rationale ignores the fact that we are already $680 million behind in funding the formula and that our state does not need to make new appropriations toward funding costly programming such as virtual charters."

Charter schools currently receive state aid payments equivalent to their local district’s state formula payment. It is expected that if House Bill 470 becomes law, the majority of students who would enroll in these virtual charter schools are students who are currently home schooled. This means the net effect of House Bill 470 is that it allows home-schooled students to receive state aid payments and further reduces the funds available for our Foundation Formula payments to public schools.

The funding aspect of House 470 says nothing of the fact that it is bad for students to receive their entire education online without the interaction with other students, teachers and people. We live in a global society where employers look for the ability to work well with others; an entirely online education withholds those skills from students.

Lee's Summit R-7 opposes 470. Please consider contacting your state representatives TODAY and urge him or her to oppose raiding the foundation formula to pay for virtual open enrollment.

House Bill 631 (teacher evaluation and tenure) defeated last week
Included are voting records for Lee's Summit area representatives on House Bill 631
Lee's Summit R-7 had opposed this bill which made changes to teacher evaluation and tenure, removing local control and making it more difficult to remove poor teachers from the classroom. House Bill 631 failed in the House by a vote of 102 to 55. Our district's representatives who voted "no" on the bill were Rep. Rick Brattin, Rep. Gary Cross, Rep. Jeff Grisamore, Rep. Donna Pfautsch, Rep. Joe Runions, Rep. Sheila Solon and Rep. Noel Torpey. R-7 representative Mike Cierpiot voted in favor of this bill.

Thank you to everyone who contacted their elected officials and to the seven representatives who voted against this bill, which would have hampered our district's ability to ensure that we have quality teachers in each classroom.

House Bill 178 restricts local school boards' control of election issues
Lee's Summit R-7 is opposed to House Bill 178, which restricts election decisions made by voter-elected boards. The bill specifies that a proposal by any political subdivision – including locally elected boards of education – to enact a tax for any purpose that is submitted to and rejected by the voters may be resubmitted at any time in the immediately following two years BUT the proposal will not become effective unless this second election question is approved by at least 60 percent of voters. If the proposal is re-submitted after the two-year period, it would become effective if a simple majority is in favor.

"There are numerous questions and interpretations regarding this bill and its impact," said Dr. David McGehee, superintendent. "We can definitely see problems for school districts. Although our district is not planning any ballot initiatives in the near future, it seems that communities should have the ability to make decisions about their school districts without this type of restriction.

Please consider contacting your House rep and sharing your concerns about House Bill 178.

Visit http://www.lsr7.org/district/2012-legislative-platform/ to read the 2013 R-7 Legislative Platform and see a list of area elected officials. This web page also includes a Toolkit for Advocacy.

The 'R-7 Advocacy' newsletter is designed to provide you with relevant and timely information about legislative activities. Through this electronic communication, we will also occasionally ask subscribers to consider contacting their elected officials about specific proposed legislation that would impact our students.
Thank you for subscribing to 'R-7 Advocacy'!

UNSUBSCRIBE: To unsubscribe to this newsletter, please visit http://lists.leesummit.k12.mo.us/mailman/listinfo/r7advocacy, scroll down to "To unsubscribe from…," enter your e-mail and select "Unsubscribe or edit options." You may also e-mail Janice Phelan at Janice.phelan@leesummit.k12.mo.us with your request to be removed from the list.

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To track a bill in the Missouri House of Representatives, visit www.house.mo.gov/billcentral.aspx?pid=26.
To track a bill in the Missouri Senate, visit www.senate.mo.gov/ and see "SEARCH FOR A BILL" on the left side of the web page.  

Janie Rohlfing                          
R-7 School District Communications Department
Stansberry Leadership Center
301 NE Tudor Road
Lee's Summit, MO  64086-5702
(816) 986-1014
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