The Buzz

May 13, 2014

Nixon, Stream disagree on sending public dollars to private schools

Dispute could undermine controversial school-transfer law

The Buzz

The facts, faces and hum of local politics with Steve Kraske and Dave Helling

One of the major issues that remains unresolved in Jefferson City is the school transfer law that affects unaccredited school districts, including the one in Kansas City.

On Tuesday, Gov. Jay Nixon

insisted that Republican lawmakers

remove a clause that would allow tax dollars to be used for private schools.

Allowing such an arrangement would “destabilize” public education, the governor said at a news conference, and “open the floodgates to even more radical voucher schemes down the road.”

But the House sponsor of the law, state Rep. Rick Stream, a Kirkwood Republican, said he didn’t think the bill could pass without the private school provision. He disagreed with Nixon on whether the state Constitution allows tax dollars to be used for private schools.

“The Constitution says we cannot spend public dollars on religious institutions … religious schools,” Stream told Missourinet. “I don’t believe that the Constitution says we cannot spend public dollars on private companies or private schools that are nonsectarian. We do that already in the budget. About a third of our budget is public money going to private providers.”

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