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State legislator fights move to share public school busing funds with charter schools

JEFFERSON CITY – State Rep. Marlon Anderson says an attempt to fix an equity issue for predominantly black areas such as his district in St. Louis will create further inequities. House Bill 137, which just passed the Missouri House with majority support, would allow for transportation funding to be shared between public and charter schools. Anderson is opposing the bill, saying that already-struggling school districts would suffer with the loss of funding.

“When something is broken, you don’t throw it out,” said Anderson, D-St. Louis. “You identify the problem and come up with solutions.”

Rep. Marlon Anderson, D-St. Louis

“I don’t believe charter schools are the best option,” he asserted in a statement Saturday. “Charter schools should be subject to the same standards of accountability as public schools.”

The issue centers on court-ordered desegregation busing. Because the St. Louis Public Schools district has to move students around to address racial equity, some busing practices get penalized for inefficiency. Anderson has introduced a bill, HB 796, to specify that school districts operating magnet schools, a part of a desegregation settlement agreement, would not be penalized for inefficient bus routes.

“I appreciate that my colleagues are looking for solutions to improve education in Missouri,” Anderson said. “I believe Brown v. the Board of Education pointed out the need for textbooks and curriculum to be the same in predominantly black school districts. It is my hope that we can find ways to strengthen the public schools that are there to meet that edict.”

More information is available from Anderson’s office at 573-751-7605.

Staff

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