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Organization continues touting charter schools across state

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri held two forums Monday with lawmakers in Columbia and Macon to emphasize new school choice options which could come about thanks to the passage of Rep. Rebecca Roeber’s charter school bill.

Rep. Tim Remole spoke in Macon and Rep. Chuck Basye and Sen. Caleb Rowden spoke in Columbia. Basye said the experience was overall positive and guests were receptive, despite what he called “misleading information” about charter schools by some school groups about charter schools.

“Charter schools are just another option for parents to have,” Basye said. “If they feel their child is in an inappropriate learning environment, they ought to have other options available to them.”

A similar forum was held last month in Poplar Bluff following the passage of HB 634, where Sen. Doug Libla, Rep. Steve Cookson, and Speaker Todd Richardson spoke on the issue of charter schools alongside other developments in education. Libla attended the forum, though he noted then that he was still on the fence when it came to charter schools.

Rep. Tim Remole
Rep. Tim Remole

Roeber’s bill would expand the current charter school system utilized in the state so that a charter can be established in any district with even one building scoring a 60 or lower on their annual performance review (APR). Richardson added a key provision with his own amendment that would revoke that school’s charter should it score below that 60 APR for a given period of time.

Seven schools in the Columbia Public School District currently fit that requirement.

For Remole, the forum was an opportunity to tout other developments in education. He praised initiatives like Gov. Eric Greitens’ rural broadband internet plan, and bills on virtual technology which can open up better rural access to advanced courses.

“A lot of these education bills that we’ve had and the bills that we’re seeing are exciting to me because I think now a lot of the education bills affect our rural areas,” Remole said.

The events were hosted by local Republican political leaders, and the party was somewhat split on Roeber’s charter school bill, with a large majority supporting the change. A notable minority however, opposed it, as the bill passed only 83-76. Nearly all Democrats opposed the legislation. It has yet to make its way through the Senate.