Missouri has become the latest in an increasing number of states that are embracing education choice with the creation of its first private school choice program.

Gov. Mike Parson signed into law earlier today HB349, which will grant Missouri families access to resources and tools to assist with various educational needs for their children.

The legislation creates a $25 million education savings account program that provides eligible students $6,350 for educational expenses to attend the public, charter, virtual, private or homeschools of their choice. Any student who attended a public school in the previous year or is entering school for the first time is eligible.

Students with special needs who have an Individual Education Plan or a family income below federal free and reduced-price lunch guidelines will be given first preference. Those from families making less than 200% of that amount will be given second preference.

Tommy Schultz, chief executive officer of the American Federation for Children, praised lawmakers, saying the program will empower parents to make the best decisions for their children.

“School choice is on the rise nationwide, and this represents vital progress for educational opportunity in Missouri,” Schultz said. “We are all thankful for Gov. Mike Parson and the courageous Missouri legislative leadership – especially Speaker Rob Vescovo, Senate Leader Caleb Rowden, Sen. Andrew Koenig, and Rep. Phil Christofanelli and their commitment to putting students first.”

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