Catholic school administrators came Tuesday to show their support for a proposal that would create a tax-credit funded scholarship program for students in unaccredited districts to attend private or parochial schools.
Dubbed the “Turner Fix,” the bills, sponsored by Sen. Jane Cunningham (R-Chesterfield), would also annex the unaccredited Kansas City public school district to neighboring districts.
Catholic school administrators from Kansas City and St. Louis testified to the committee that they were ready and able to provide an excellent education in a safe environment for students at less cost to the state. Currently, it costs the state more than $15,000 per student in public schools. Catholic school administrators said it would cost them less than $10,000 per student.
Cardinal Ritter College Prep High School President Leon Henderson came to speak in favor of the bill saying his school has a history of success with children in the St. Louis area and that the school would welcome students from unaccredited districts regardless of their religion.
Dan Peters, Catholic Schools superintendent for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, said his schools have the room to accommodate at least 1,000 more students and echoed Henderson’s statements that all students are welcome.
Yak Nak, an eighth-grade student from Holy Cross Catholic School in Kansas City, joined Peters in testifying for the bill. Nak talked about the importance of Catholic schooling in his family’s life since they moved to the U.S. from Sudan. His sister is a Catholic school graduate and currently attends college with a full academic scholarship. He said even though his family isn’t Catholic, they knew they would receive quality education at a Catholic school.
Senate Bill 706 was heard in the Missouri Senate’s General Laws Committee.
The Missouri Catholic Conference supports the bill because it upholds the right of parents to choose a school for their children that corresponds to their moral convictions. Click here to download the MCC’s testimony.
Archbishop Robert Carlson also sent testimony in support of the bill. Click here to download it.