Weekly Update
March 12, 2021
Rescue me....
Yesterday President Joe Biden signed a $1.9 trillion relief package into law. Known as the American Rescue Package, this stimulus measure will deliver $1,400 payments to 98% of Americans and provide billions to states and local governments across the country. 

Just for reference, $1.9 trillion is nearly 10 percent of the annual gross domestic product (GDP) of the United States and roughly equal to Italy's annual GDP

This figure includes about $130 billion for the nation's K-12 system.

The Missouri Budget Project combed through the package and here's what they found.

Missouri's estimated state & local relief aid is projected to total more than $5.4 billion, including approximately:
  • $2.816 billion in state fiscal relief, 
  • $1.19 billion for counties,
  • $830 million for cities with a population greater than 50,000
  • $442 million for other local jurisdictions with a population less than 50,000
  • $195 million for the state for specific capital projects.
Read the American Rescue Plan: State and Local Fiscal Aid Fact Sheet for Missouri and click here to see a county-by-county fiscal map.

Included in those funds are:

Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund$1,956,529,000
Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund$631,783,000
Expanded Child Care Assistance$277,692,171
Child Care Stabilization Funds$444,140,748
Head Start$17,262,000

Kansas will receive $2.58 billion in overall stimulus funding.
Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund
Expanded Child Care Assistance
Child Care Stabilization Funds
Missouri News
Aligned Priorities

Early Care and Education

HB 1071 (Shields) - a bill that makes the Quality Assurance Report permanent was passed out of the House Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education by a vote of 19-0. The bill sponsor offered an amendment to extend the sunset another four years in lieu of removing the sunset altogether, which assuaged some legislator concerns. This provision would allow the state to continue to develop its program for early care and education continuous improvement. 

Real World Learning

HB 1304 (Henderson) - legislation that ensures students and businesses are protected from liability claims when hosting real world learning opportunities was heard in the House Special Committee on Litigation Reform this week. Aligned and Greater St. Louis, Inc. testified in support. We are working to have the Senate companion heard after the legislative break. 

Innovative Practices

This week the Senate third read and passed SB 152 (Hoskins) a bill which changes the state's 529 education savings plans to mirror federal policy and includes the competency-based education grant program and task force from SB 33 and SB 43. The bill was was reported to the House and first read. HB 624 (Richey), which also includes the competency-based task force language, passed out of the House (157-1) and reported to the Senate and first read. The Senate Committee on Education passed SB 33 and SB 34 out of committee this week.

Other education legislation

EDUCATION OMNIBUSThis week the Senate Third Read and Passed 34-0 SS SCS SB 152, sponsored by Sen. Denny Hoskins (R-Warrensburg).  This act modifies several provisions relating to education.

SHOW-ME SUCCESS DIPLOMA PROGRAM: This bill establishes the "Show Me Success Diploma Program" as an alternative pathway to graduation for high school students. Students may earn the Show Me Success Diploma beginning at the end of a student's tenth grade year. 

PUBLIC SCHOOL TRANSFERS: This week the House took up and Perfected HCS HB 543, sponsored by Rep. Brad Pollitt (R-Sedalia).  This legislation establishes transfer procedures to nonresident districts for students in public schools.  The full bill summary may be found here:  HB 543.

21st CENTURY MISSOURI SOCIAL SERVICES GAP ANALYSIS TASK FORCE: On Monday, the House Committee on General Laws conducted a public hearing on HB 1165, sponsored by Rep. Louis Riggs (R-Hannibal).  This bill establishes the "21st Century Missouri Social Services Gap Analysis Task force". 

Read our weekly report for more details. 

For a complete update access the Aligned Priority Tracking Report.
Legislative News

Here are a few toplines from activity under the state dome this week:
  • The blockbuster announcement by U.S. Senator Roy Blunt that he will not seek re-election next year was the talk of the state capitol this week as pundits began speculating on who might be the Republican nominee.
  • This week, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced 102 criminal charges against a husband and wife team who owned the now defunct Circle of Hope Girls Ranch located in Southwest Missouri's Humansville.  
  • This week, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services announcement that over one million Missourians have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and over 530,000 have received two doses. 
  • Missouri state and local governments will receive an estimated $2.5 billion in direct federal aid and over $1 billion more through an uptick in federal funding of Missouri Medicaid Program from the latest pandemic stimulus program approved by Congress. 

Budget Update

The governor's budget chief presented two recommendations for the supplemental budget bill (HB 15) 
  • An additional $100 million in spending authority for MoDOT projects
  • An additional $950,000 in federal funding for public transit with $500,000 dedicated to small, urban, and rural transit
  • $10 million for training and helping providers for COVID-19 vaccine distribution
The full budget committee will begin reviewing the committee substitutes when lawmakers return from their Spring recess on March 22nd.
Kansas News

Legislative Update 

Funding state education with federal relief dollars stirs debate

Today, the Senate Ways and Means Committee refused to take any action on nearly $500 million in K-12 funding until May. Lawmakers need more research to determine whether they can fund schools with federal COVID-19 relief assistance rather than state general revenue. Schools officials have argued that federal relief dollars should only fund pandemic-related expenses. 

The legislature must eventually replace the federal allocation with state funds to meet the Gannon ruling requirements. Generally, federal funds involve a "supplement, not supplant" provision. In other words, you cannot replace state funds with federal funds. We anticipate more debate around this as the legislature deals with the funding in May's omnibus session. Source: KASB News
Education Bills Moving Forward
SB 235, which requires Kansas public schools to offer an in-person learning option by March 26 under legislation, was recommended for the House K-12 Education Budget Committee's approvalAlready passed by the Senate, this bill will now go to the full House for a vote. Currently, only one district, KCK USD 500, is offering fully remote learning.  
SB32 authorizes school districts to pay the tuition for a student's dual or concurrent enrollment in a postsecondary educational institution and requiring a tuition waiver for foster children who are dually or concurrently enrolled. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, March 17, 2021, 1:30 PM Room 218-N. Watch live here 

HB 2287, the bill establishing the Kansas Promise Scholarship Act to provide scholarships to students who attend postsecondary educational programs that correspond to high-need career fields, was recommended "do pass" from the House Committee on Commerce, Labor and Economic Development on March 12. This bill moves onto the House for consideration.
HB 2119 offers a voucher to eligible children's families to access funding equal to the base state aid per pupil to pay for private school tuition and other expense. This bill incorporated the language from HB 2068, expanding tax credits for students to attend private schools and HB 2067, requiring school districts to allocate funding to ensure all students achieve specific goals. REFERRED TO COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE on March 10th.
SB 63  is a bill that expands the provision of the ACT college entrance exam and WorkKeys assessments to students enrolled in nonpublic schools.  PASSED OUT OF SENATE & referred to Committee on K-12 Education Budget on March 10.
HB 2039 - the House approved requiring students to pass a civics test to graduate high school. The bill, which struggled to move out of committee, passed the House on a 69-54 vote despite concerns that the legislature was encroaching on the state Board of Education's constitutional turf. PASSED House; Moving to Senate Committee on Education on March 11.
HB 2068 will expand the state's Tax Credit for Low Income Students Scholarship ProgramREFERRED to the House Committee of the Whole on March 10.
Left to right: Torree Pederson, Stacey Preis, Garrett Webb, Trent Watson, and Linda Rallo
Meet the A-Team 
This week our advocacy team had a full roster working the hallways of the Missouri Capitol. Aligned President and co-founder Torree Pederson traveled to Jefferson City for two days of legislator visits. Torree and Linda had not been together in-person for more than a year. We have Zoom to thank for accelerating our work during the pandemic. However, there is no substitute for face-to-face communication

This year, we have been able to augment our agenda thanks to Dr. Stacey Preis, Garrett Webb, and Trent Watson's hard work

The Missouri General Assembly will be on a short spring break - and we will also use that time to recharge our batteries. No newsletter next Friday, but we will be back under the dome on March 22nd. 

All the best,

Torree Pederson
(913) 484-4202

Linda Rallo
(314) 330-8442