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Republican lawmakers push open enrollment in Missouri public schools

The Missouri House of Representatives Elementary and Secondary Education Committee heard their first bill on Wednesday on the proposed Public School Open Enrollment Act.

If passed, students would be able to leave their current district and transfer to virtually any participating public school in the state.

Superintendent Kyle Kruse of St. Clair R-13 school district testified in opposition of the Public School Open Enrollment Act at its first hearing, citing the costly burden it would put on smaller Missouri districts like his own.

Kruse said that St. Clair has the lowest tax rate in the area, and he fears that if given the opportunity, students will transfer to wealthier neighboring school districts.

"Our football team was undefeated in recent year, in the regular season, but we'll lose kids, because our facilities are not as nice, and we can't afford to fix that."

The superintendent said that if 100 students transfer out of St. Clair, they will lose over $400,000 in state funding.

"Competition is only competition if the rules are fair and the playing field is level, and in this case, it is certainly not."

Sarah Petrowich studies cross platform editing and producing within journalism, as well as political science at the University of Missouri - Columbia.