Roman Catholic leaders and Missouri public school officials are butting heads over a potential constitutional amendment that would allow tax credit scholarships to benefit private education. Thousands of signatures are being collected in Catholic parishes across Missouri to go to voters in November with an initiative that would give tax credits to anyone who donates to foundations that support public or private schools.
The Children’s Education Initiative would set up a $90 million tax credit program intended to leverage private donations to public and private school foundations. Donors would get a 50 percent tax credit for giving to a nonprofit organization that supports private or public schools, including special education programs.
The Missouri Association of School Administrators calls the proposed initiative harmful and is urging people to not sign the petitions. According to the association’s website, the initiative would redirect $90 million away from the state’s general revenue fund “when those resources could be used to help fund the state’s foundation formula that is underfunded by nearly $600 million.”