I find myself feeling disappointment—and even disgusted—in the governor’s decision to veto HB 1789, which would have helped ease the travel burdens of students who live a great distance away from their learning establishment.
I handled the legislation in the Missouri Senate. During debate, I informed my colleagues there are young children having to get on a bus at a very early hour and then not get home until very late in the afternoon. This is unfair to all families but particularly low-income families who cannot afford the gas and travel expenses associated with getting students to and from extracurricular activities.
It’s just plain wrong to have to put little Susie Pigtails, age five, on a school bus so early in the morning and not see her again until very late in the afternoon. I believe the governor chose education bureaucrats over students and families.
Most folks don't know about the somewhat secretive policy that allows school administrators, the main group opposing this legislation, to place their children in a district other than their district of residence. It’s very sad to see school administrators fight against giving other families the ability to do the very same thing they, as school employees, can currently do!
This issue is ripe for a lawsuit and could cost our state millions in legal fees!
Some argue that giving all school employees the right to move their children out of their district of residence and in to the district for which they work, while not allowing families with real hardships to do the same, violates "Equal protection under the law" and could end up forcing all teachers, administrators, and other school employees to move their own children back to their district of residence. I do NOT want to see this happen and hope it doesn't come to that but the governor's veto has opened a can of worms that teachers and school employees may become the victim of.
The measure would have established a process to make reassignment obligatory for any pupil or sibling of a pupil living in a few geographic areas around the state where the problem is extreme. Students would have been reassigned to another institution if they had to endure a minimum driving distance of at least 17 miles to their current school, the other school is at least seven miles closer, and the transfer didn’t cause the receiving district to exceed its classroom size. This measure was extremely reasonable yet the very people who are already allowed to place their children in a more convenient district, namely school administrators, helped convince the governor to stop other families from having the same ability.
The governor’s veto on this beneficial measure is very disappointing. It’s really a shame for all the students who have to tolerate lengthy bus rides and can’t participate in sports or other extracurricular activities, due to where they live. The well-being of children and the quality of their educational experience should always be our first priority.
Thank you for reading this blog. Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com