SB 1010 will change restrictions on school districts in Missouri, allowing open registration no matter where you live.

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SB 1010 will open up restrictions on school districts in Missouri, allowing open registration no matter where you live. The bill contains the "Public School Open Enrollment Act."
Missouri SB 1010 will change school district restrictions in MissouriJoshua Hoehne/Unsplash

HB1814 passed and is now in the Missouri Senate. The bill eliminates school district restrictions for students. The bill would:

  • Allow non-resident students to enroll in any participating public school district they choose if there is space, and if space is limited, there will be a waiting list.
  • Allow nonresidents who own property and pay school taxes in another district to enroll their children in that district.
  • Establish a fund to assist low-income families with costs related to transportation.
  • Assist low-income families with children with special needs costs related to special education services.

The bill is sponsored by Republican Representative Brad Pollitt and co-sponsored by Republican Representative Chris Sander in the Missouri House of Representatives. Republican Senator Cindy O'laughlin sponsors SB 1010.

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The bill will change how school districts currently limit families. Housing in many areas is expensive for Missouri residents due to their school districts. This limits low-income families from sending their children to higher-rated school districts.

SB 1010 will enable families to live in an area with cheaper housing costs and choose better schools and special programs they need for their specific situations.

Although the bill allows for assistance for low-income families in transportation costs, ultimately, transportation will be the responsibility of the family changing schools. The bill will allow parents to transport students to bus stops currently established within the district closer to where they live.

There will be an application process, and students must not have disciplinary issues. Students will be allowed one transfer into a non-district per year and commit to a year within the district.

The bill also states:

By October 1st annually, each school district shall set the number of transfer students such district will accept for the following school year. The district may set criteria, including limits on the number of students to be accepted to particular buildings, grades, classrooms, or programs. Districts shall publish and notify the Department of such information.

The bill contains changes for non-resident property owners as well:

Beginning in the 2023-24 school year, any person who owns residential real property or agricultural real property and pays a school tax in any school district in which such person does not reside may send his or her children to a public school in any such district. For purposes of calculating state aid to school districts, such children shall be counted in the average daily attendance of the school district where they attend. To enroll children this way, the person shall send written notice to all school districts involved specifying the school where his or her children will attend at least thirty days prior to enrollment, providing proof of payment of school taxes for the last two years. (Sections 167.020 and 167.151)

The effective date of the bill should it become law is July 1, 2023.

Your representatives and senators can’t speak on your behalf if they are unaware of your opinion.

Change comes from involvement, and involvement is easier than you think.

Click this link to email your senator your thoughts on SB 1010.

What are your thoughts on the "Public Schools Open Enrollment Act?"

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