As many of you are aware, the open enrollment bills (HB 253 and SB 5) are quickly making their way through the legislative process in both the House and Senate. Each bill received a hearing this past week and is expected to be voted on in their respective committees this week. We expect them to be on the floor very soon.

I strongly encourage everyone to view this video recap of the committee hearing on HB 253 that our friends put together at the Missouri State Teachers Association. As you can see, the fear of consolidation of our schools is very real.

For the past several legislative sessions of the Missouri General Assembly, the issue of open enrollment for all Missouri school districts has been debated. This proposed legislation will be debated again in the 2023 Missouri legislative session. Most statewide education groups, organizations, and cooperatives oppose open enrollment.  Here are some of the primary talking points regarding open enrollment:

  • To our knowledge, no state or national studies or research have shown that open enrollment improves student outcomes or achievement.

  • Under open enrollment, the loss of students from a district will leave fewer funds and other resources to educate the remaining students.

  • Some school districts are likely to lose students in sufficient numbers to force school closures and consolidations.

  • Public school districts will be pitted against one another to attract students.

  • Districts will be compelled to spend significant money, time, and effort marketing to students residing in other school districts.

  • And members should be cognizant that, if passed, legislators will only attempt to expand further open enrollment (e.g., mandating the use of open enrollment).