Calvin Coolidge Quote

The SB 727 Problem

There has been a lot of discussion about SB 727 (Read the Bill Here) and wants to provide you with the most complete information we can on the bill. Note up front we oppose the bill, but included in the resources below are the best rescources we could find from the Bill Sponsors themselves.

There is a massive push to pass Senator Koenig’s bill SB 727. I even received this mailer from Americans For Prosperity Missouri:

Why does the Koch Brothers PAC want this bill to pass so badly? The points they make about scholarships being more available are fine, but at what cost? Missourians want school choice, but we want school choice free of Government strings! The whole point of our desire for school choice is to escape the requirements of the Department of Education and DESI at the state level.

What do the Bill’s Sponsor and Supporters say about SB 727?

Because the bill was sponsored by Senator Koenig, many grassroots have been perplexed about this bill. Much research has been done into this bill, and it is hard to understand what we are getting that is worth the bad stuff (Lisa Pannett has estimated that 85% of the current bill covers Democrat-desired items) that Senator Koenig himself has admitted he wishes wasn’t included. You can watch his complete defense of the bill here:

Representative Doug Richie also offered this video in defense of SB 727:

Opposition to the SB 727 doesn’t support this bill. We are not alone. Freedom Principle MO, just this week, issued the following press release:

Jodi Grace had an excellent blog detailing the problems with the bill:

Problems with SB 727 | Jodi Grace

Perhaps no one has done more research into the bill and who is behind it than the Shield Maidens. Their last two podcasts have focused on the bill and what is going on in the halls of the Capitol.

In an earlier post, we have a link to Real Talk Radio’s great discussion with Stacy Shore and Andrew Keonig on the bill. See that here! SB 727 Debate and School Choice Expansion (

There are also a lot of concerns about section 167.012 on page 85. It states, “167.012. 1. For purposes of state law, a “home school” is a school, whether incorporated or unincorporated.” People have asked if this would make State gun laws that prohibit firearms in schools apply to the homes of homeschooled families. Here is the video that sparked this debate:

Here is the statement for the Missouri Firearms Coalition that looks at the issue, and they conclude that SB 727 is not a threat to gun rights:

What you can do!

When you have done your own research and made your decision if you agree that this is a bill that should be killed. We offer these bullet points from Freedom Principle MO that you can use in an email to your State Representative and Senator. We need to be kind and respectful. Understand that all of them are being put under extraordinary pressure over this bill. At the same time, and for that reason, we need to ask them to vote against it.

The ESA Grant Program is School Choice with Strings 

  • When a parent enrolls their child into the FPE program, they are making a deal with the government. This dependency on ESA funding gives the government control over them and opens the door for the government to put additional conditions on them in the future. Today, if the bill passes, the student must take either the MAP test or a third-party test. This is fine under the current legislature and State Treasurer. But what about the future when a new legislature, new DESE administrator, or even a new State Treasurer takes over, these requirements could change, and not for the better, especially for the FPE participants and regular home school parents.  

DESE Intrusion into Homeschool and Private Schools 

  • If this program is administered by the Treasurer, then why is this bill requiring the student receiving the grant money to take the MAP test? Private schools currently are not required to take the MAP test, but now SB 727 will require any student who enrolls in the FPE or attends a private to take the MAP test or a third-party test. We don’t have a problem with them taking a third-party nationalized test, but when the bill opens the door to the MAP test, it opens the door to DESE getting involved. It won’t be long before DESE changes the provision of only the student taking the assessment to make the school take the assessment. This requirement of the MAP test needs to be removed.  

Private School Students Have the Freedom to Choose Assessment Plan Why Not Government Schools?  

  • Under the proposed bill, students who participate in the ESA program will have the option to take the state-administered MAP test or a private third-party assessment. Yet, neither the bill nor the Senate seems to make the same carve-out for public schools. Why wouldn’t we give government schools the same option?  

Differentiate the Definition between FPE and Homeschool Participants 

  • Our members, and even some State Representatives, believe the delineation between the FPE and traditional homeschooling is so narrow, that it won’t be long before DESE starts creeping into the traditional homeschooling programs. We asked the Special Committee on Education Reform to consider adding some additional language to prevent any mission creep from DESE into homeschooling families. However, these concerns were ignored in the Executive Session.  

Problem with the “MO Scholars Account Board” 

  • We have concerns about this alleged board that includes a representative from DESE. We expressed our concerns about this board because not only does it include a representative from DESE, but the Commissioner of Administration is being replaced by a representative from an ESO organization. We asked Senator Koenig about this board, and he told us the board the board has never met. So why does this board exist? Again, if this program is administered by the State Treasurer, then why does it need to have someone from DESE on the board? This again is opening the door to DESE being involved in the program and potentially controlling the program. If this board is necessary, then demand it conduct a meeting. If is not necessary, then eliminate it from the state statute. If it is supposed to be a program administered by the State Treasurer, then remove the DESE representative from the board.   
  • The other concern with this board is having the ESO representative serve on this board. To our members, this smells of potential political influence. We already have enough of special interest groups corrupting our state government, we don’t need to create any additional opportunities for them to interfere.   

This bill is a Clean-Out-the-Fridge Bill 

  • We met with Senator Koenig in January about the ESA expansion program and expansion of the Charter Schools. We were originally supportive of this program when it was just these two items. But then every legislator decided they needed to show to their voters that they were doing something about education and therefore threw everything they could into this bill so they could pat themselves on the back.  In addition to the ESA program and the charter school provision, there are at least 19 to 20 different components of this bill that have nothing to do with the ESA program or Charter schools. Our members are tired of these types of bills and in our email to Representatives we expressed our concerns about these programs but again they were ignored. 

Minimum Teacher Salary Increase Could Lead to Higher Property Taxes 

  • SB 727 includes a provision to raise the minimum level of teacher salaries from $25,000 to $40,000. We asked Senator Koenig about this, and the response is the state doesn’t fund teacher salaries, the school districts do. This type of increase will require the school districts to seek additional funding and that funding will be obtained through personal property tax increases. We support well-paid teachers, but we believe the free market should drive teacher salaries, not the state government.  

No Mention of Any Conservative Education Reform 

  • We are also disappointed that if the legislature is going to throw every piece of education legislation from the last two years into this bill, why did we not include any language to ban the DEI curriculum? Why did we not include any language to require a pro-America curriculum? To our members, this is a complete sellout to the Democrats.