A group of Lee’s Summit R-7 School District community members recently participated in a legislative forum with state representatives serving in the Missouri General Assembly. Approximately 45 members of the Lee’s Summit R-7 Citizens’ Advisory Committee, Business Roundtable and Board of Education attended the March 31 event.
All 12 state legislators representing the school district were invited to attend the forum with the following attending: Sen. Shalonn “Kiki” Curls, Rep. Mike Cierpiot, Rep. Gary Cross, Rep. Rebecca Roeber, Rep. Rory Rowland, Rep. Joe Runions and Rep. Dan Stacy.
The discussion focused on education topics such as funding for public schools and concerns about legislation expanding charter schools within the state and initiating a voucher tax credit program.
The meeting also included a performance by a string quartet from Lee’s Summit High School; a presentation about R-7 demographics from Rexanne Hill, director of student services; a student panel; and concluding remarks by Rick McDowell, Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council president and CEO. Mr. McDowell emphasized that quality public schools are a key economic development driver in our community.
Student panelists included Maleah Ahuja, Lee’s Summit North High School; Christian Moreno, Lee’s Summit High School; David Treece, Lee’s Summit West High School; and Colby Huser, a 2016 graduate of the district’s Missouri Innovation Campus. A video from Daniel Mathews of LSNHS was also included with Daniel representing students with special needs.
The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District legislative platform is available at http://www.lsr7.org/district/2012-legislative-platform/. This webpage also includes contact information for local legislators, a toolkit for advocacy and sign-up opportunities for the R-7 School District’s advocacy electronic newsletter. The 12-point platform includes the following
- Support providing appropriations for fully funding the Foundation Formula and maintaining the integrity of the current Foundation Formula.
- Support fully funding early childhood education through an increased appropriation in the Foundation Formula.
- Support fully funding the transportation formula, including modifying the provision that penalizes school districts when they transport highly mobile students back to their original school of attendance.
- Support local school district authority to make the decisions about matters such as, open enrollment; employee compensation and working conditions; class sizes; curriculum and instruction materials; professional development; program and employee evaluations; and school calendar. We strongly support local control.
- Support the creation and development of a system of interventions that leads to improvements in achievement for provisionally accredited and unaccredited school districts.
- Support legislation that annually reviews the effectiveness of tax credits and appropriates the funding based on the review.
- Support legislation that seeks an equal opportunity for all taxing jurisdictions to support economic development.
- Support legislation that requires the unanimous support of all taxing jurisdictions for any tax abatement project or otherwise provide an opt-out provision.
- Support a change in the Missouri Human Rights Act that would realign the Missouri Act with federal standards.
- Oppose any legislation that would divert revenue from the public schools to non-public educational entities.
- Oppose legislation which reduces the benefits provided by the current state public school retirement systems (PSRS and PEERS).
- Oppose legislation that authorizes open enrollment.
- Oppose any legislation that would make summer school funding a separate line item.
The Citizens’ Advisory Committee, assisted by the Business Roundtable, has hosted a legislative forum for several years with the emphasis on educational topics.