Mo. bill would allow vouchers for private schools

Feb 16, 2011

A state House member wants to amend the Missouri Constitution to let parents receive public funding to send children to religious schools.

The proposal by Jefferson City Republican Jay Barnes would repeal a prohibition on public money going to religious schools. If approved by the full House and Senate, it would go on a statewide ballot.

Barnes told lawmakers Wednesday that the prohibition is "anti-Catholic." He says said his amendment would help low-income families afford better education at private schools.

A financial estimate says the amendment could cost the state more than $300 million per year.

Opponents raised concerns about the bill's potential price tag and the possibility that property tax dollars from one city could go a school district in a different city through the voucher program.