Nixon Vetoes Student Transfer Bill

(AP) – Calling it a “dangerous voucher scheme,” Gov. Jay Nixon on Tuesday vetoed a measure that would allow the use of public money to pay for certain students to attend private schools.

In making good on his vow to block the legislation, Nixon said it would only worsen the problems of a pair of struggling St. Louis County school districts as well as others that risk losing accreditation.

“Not only does (the bill) fail to solve the school transfer problem it was intended to address, it would create new problems and exacerbate the hardship faced by children who attend unaccredited schools,” Nixon said at press conference in St. Louis County.

The school transfer legislation would have eliminated a requirement that unaccredited districts such as Normandy and Riverview Gardens in suburban St. Louis pay for students’ transportation to new schools. It called for accreditation of individual schools rather than entire districts.

Nixon vetoed the bill earlier Tuesday in Jefferson City. In a separate move, the Democratic governor also vetoed or froze more than $1.1 billion in spending Tuesday for Missouri’s next budget, citing concerns about declining revenues and the potential for new tax breaks to drain state dollars even further.

Students in unaccredited districts St. Louis city, St. Louis County and Jackson County could have tapped local tax revenue to pay for private school tuition, subject to local voter approval. Systems that had lost accreditation for at least three straight years would not have needed voter consent.

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