Actions you can take
To improve funding for private schools during the pandemic
Your Missouri private school provides an important service to children and families. It is critical for your school to weather the current crisis and the impending financial fallout caused by the Covid-19 pandemic for the sake of the children you serve.
Yes, things seem chaotic, but our leaders are still at work and are figuring out how relief resources will be allocated. Now, more than ever, your voice is critical.
Now is not the time to sit back and watch decisions get made that impact the mission and operation of your school. Absent the ability to advocate in person, we are left with three basic tools:
Internet - video conferencing, social media and email
Telephone - have a script of talking points ready
U.S. Mail - postcards and letters, although COVID-spread fears may minimize the effectiveness.
Advocacy actions for you and your school community:
Here are just some of the ways you can advocate for your school and communicate your story and value:
Host a Zoom meeting with your parent leaders and your elected leaders.
Students, teachers and parents can send emails and letters to State Representatives, State Senators, and Governor Parson.
Document stories of hardship immediately.
Tips for advocacy and key messages about your school
● Thank you is a great way to start. Our elected leaders are working hard to fulfill their oath to the people of Missouri. Let them know you appreciate their service and dedication. Let them know you are praying for them and their families.
● Your school is part of the education system! Remind our elected leaders that you exist and that the “education system” in Missouri is more than the traditional, public school district. Families in Missouri are choosing charter schools, virtual schools, home schooling, and private schools like yours. There are approximately 90,000 private school students in Missouri.
● The fallout from COVID will impact your private school and the impact to your school will eventually impact your traditional school district as well when former private school students are forced to enroll.
● Your school saves the state money. Every student whose family must make the heartbreaking decision to send their child to the traditional public school district due to economic hardship caused by Covid-19, is adding new, unbudgeted costs to that school district. The fallout will not only harm your school and students, it will negatively impact the public school district that must absorb (former) private school students.
● Families count on you and have chosen your school. Your school is a “school of choice.” The fact that hard-working Missouri families are choosing to send their children to your school, often at considerable sacrifice, says a lot about your school and school community.
● You are an important part of the community. Your school does not exist in a vacuum, you are part of the fabric of your community and neighborhood. Try to spell out the ways you contribute to your broader community.
How can the state help private schools?
The Missouri legislature has approved hundreds of millions of dollars in the Governor’s supplemental budget. Those dollars are intended for educational entities; your advocacy can help ensure that a narrow definition of “education entities,” which only embraces traditional public school districts, is NOT the rule in Missouri. Governor Parson will be making critical decisions about the allocation of financial resources.
The Governor and the state legislature can also opt for innovative efforts to direct, needs-based education scholarships to private school families impacted by the epidemic.
Please answer the questions in the widget below to generate a personalized letter you can send to key elected officials. You can send the letter directly from this widget, but copying and pasting the letter onto school letterhead and sending it individually may get more attention.
In the letter you and your school should use key message points to underscore your role in Missouri’s K-12 educational system and ask that private schools receive equitable consideration when COVID relief dollars are being allocated. Draft the letter on school letterhead and send it as a PDF to these emails:
Letter to Governor Parson (the Gov does not have his own email address, use these emails)
Send the same letter to legislative leadership. Edit each letter to properly address each person and create a separate PDF for each and then email the personalized PDF to each person using their email below:
Representative Cody Smith: Cody.Smith@house.mo.gov
Senator Dan Hegeman: Dan.Hegeman@Senate.mo.gov
Speaker Elijah Haahr: Elijah.Haahr@house.mo.gov
Senator Dave Schatz: Dave.firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative Rob Vescovo: Rob.email@example.com
Senator Caleb Rowden: Caleb.Rowden@senate.mo.gov
If you have problems accessing the widget...
Look up your elected officials
Use the widget below to find out who your elected officials are and find their email addresses and phone numbers