Senate Education Committee holds hearing for charter school bill

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JEFFERSON CITY – On Tuesday, the Senate Education Committee heard Senate Bill 428, or the charter school bill, which was introduced in late February.

If SB428 is passed, it would allow for charter schools to be operated in any school district in the state.

Senator William Eigel, R-St. Charles, introduced the bill and said he is a strong believer in families being able to have choices when it comes to their child’s education.

“There is a strong belief that I share in school choice, and the more choices parents have for their children’s education, the better it is for their kids because it creates competition,” Eigel said.

Eigel said he thinks the potential competition between charter and public schools will create a drive for better education between the two entities.

“When parents have the ability to choose between their traditional public school or a potential charter school to send their child to, that encourages both the charter school and the traditional public school to provide a better education that’s better for the kids,” Eigel said.

He said he is also pushing for the bill to be passed because he likes that charter schools have the “ability to specialize in certain areas of education.”

Currently in Missouri, St. Louis and Kansas City are the only cities to operate charter schools.

Superintendent of North Kansas City Schools, Daniel Clemens, was in opposition to the bill and said “passing the bill would eliminate programs and resources.”

Clemens also said having charter schools would disrupt local control. 

"Many times in charter school, those boards are elected from as far away as out of state," he said. "That local control is something you guys would support and that we would support but doesn't happen necessarily in charter schools."

Eigel said he is aware of some the concerns of those in opposition to the bill and hopes to find common ground.