Analysis of November 2022 MSBA State Legislative Advocacy Positions:
More There Than You Could Imagine

The MSBA advocacy positions were adopted in November 2022 and will be discussed and amended at the upcoming annual conference Nov. 3, 2023.  What follows is the beginning of an analysis by Right to Win Ozarks of what the positions really say, implicitly and explicitly.



Page 5: Rules of Order. Beginning with number 3, it is clear that the delegates themselves are quite limited on what they are allowed to say.

  1. Speakers are limited in time and scope.
  2. A comprehensive position document is already prepared for the assembly.
  3. Any proposed changes are difficult to get into consideration due to the restrictive nature of the rules (60 day prior submissions, no new additions or changes allowed on the floor; Advocacy Committee reviews and may modify any submitted changes...)


Page 7: The executive director letter states the MSBA mission as "Helping School Boards Ensure All Students Succeed." This is a utopian statement. You will never have all students succeed, but this thinly-veiled equity (as in DEI) statement is the MISSION of the MSBA.


Page 9: Proposal #1 plunges immediately into a state tax increase on tobacco, e-cigarettes, marijuana, alcohol and INTERNET SALES. It again uses DEI language in stating "Adequate and Equitable Public School Funding."


  1. 10: Proposal #2 again suggests an increase in funding and programs to solve the teacher shortage. It does not address WHY teachers are in short supply, but like a dog returning to its vomit, the MSBA wants more funding.


  1. 11: Proposal #3 supports leaving school board elections for April, and not moving them to November where a larger voting population actually votes. This suggests they know that many voters do not vote in the April elections, and those who do are more likely to be employed by the school districts and motivated to ensure the system continues as is.


  1. 12: Proposal #4 shows clearly that although the MSBA understands the use of AI is problematic for students, its benefits for school employees outweighs the negative outcome for children. MSBA is an organization that does not have the best interest of children in mind.


  1. 13: Proposal #5 shows that the MSBA opposes local candidate filing places to be anywhere other than the central office of the school district. Why are candidates for public office not filing with the county clerks or election authorities? They use a bogus argument to justify what amounts to an improper control of public candidates for office.


  1. 14: Proposal #6 shows how the MSBA wishes to maintain control over the candidate filing process, which because of the amended statute, makes it difficult for the central school district to be available to take filings.


PREAMBLE to the MSBA Advocacy Positions states, "As the organization representing the largest group of elected officials in Missouri, MSBA works in cooperation with parents, students, staff, community groups, members of educational organizations, state and local policymakers and others to make the support of public education a state priority. MSBA promotes and supports a system of public education that is accountable to the communities school boards serve and that prepares students to be productive citizens in a competitive and global society."


This is a very disingenuous statement, since the Handbook is full of positions that actually advocate for a more centralized system of control in which local schools and school boards have little say in how their schools are run. Local, decentralized control of schools would not make "public education a STATE priority."


Page 1: MSBA Advocacy Positions, states "MSBA believes that funding public schools is the responsibility of local communities, the state and federal government....MSBA believes development and implementation of an adequate and equitable funding system is critical to the future success of Missouri's public schools."


This is the crux of the matter. The MSBA advocates unceasingly for more funding. Indeed more funding is the clarion call of the MSBA, and they are rapacious in their demands. Additionally, the MSBA is using DEI language, which is a Marxist method of gaining and maintaining control over schools, staff, and students.


Under Finance, besides again using the term "equitable" the MSBA calls for more STATE and FEDERAL funding. By relying on federal funding, local schools lose control. In order to receive the funding local schools must comply with federal guidelines and rules that often do not meet local community standards. Policies are implemented that would not otherwise be.


Additionally, on Page 1, the MSBA opposes the "direct or indirect use of public funds for nonpublic K-12 education because it is detrimental to public education." This means no school choice for parents. It allows for school districts to maintain a vast degree of control over education, while giving taxpaying parents little or no choice in accessing educational choice for their children.


Further the MSBA "opposes tax legislation that compromises growth in general revenue." In other words, anything that would lower taxes on already-burdened taxpayers is being opposed. The MSBA apparently has an unlimited appetite for tax money and will brook no reining in of it.


The MSBA also supports changing the state's "foundation formula" for student attendance funding by removing "penalties for districts that have a decreased summer school enrollment," or have students who stay home from school because of illness.


Further, the MSBA "supports legislation to ensure internet sales taxes collected do not supplant existing funding and to ensure that the revenue from the taxes is deposited in the School District Tax Fund at the same rate as taxes on in-person sales." In other words, the MSBA is looking forward to increased funding with internet sales taxes, and they are not going to support a tax decrease to existing levels. The taxpayer is going to pay. And pay. And pay.


At the bottom of Page 1 of the Advocacy Positions, the MSBA supports local school boards establishing a minimum tax levy that is "correlated to the operating levies of districts that have performed at the highest levels as measured by Missouri's Annual Performance Report criteria." Here is the kicker: "If a desired goal is for all Missouri students to have access to the same high-quality education as that provided in Missouri's Performance Districts, a similar level of local support should be required."


This is a forced means of raising local taxes for schools, regardless of voter preference or taxpayer base. It would inevitably mean that other important government entities, like cities, counties, police, and fire, would probably suffer a decrease in funding; or that taxes would become even more burdensome in order to attempt to gain more taxes for the school district. It is obvious to all thinking individuals that funding has not correlated to performance for some time. It is time to stop throwing money at issues and to look at staff and curriculum and methods of teaching.


On Page 2 of the Advocacy Positions, #12 states "MSBA supports legislation to fund state and local programs to eliminate disparity in achievement among all students." This is more utopian blather that is again, asking for more taxpayer funds. There will never be a way to fully or even partially eliminate disparity in achievement among "all students."


This is communism. In a class of 30 students, there will always be a number one and a number 30, with all the numbers in between. The goal of eliminating a disparity in achievement is on its face a ridiculous statement.


The MSBA goes on with #13 to state it "supports legislation providing relief to districts with a significant amount of tax-exempt property located in the district." Clearly, the MSBA is craving a way to gain more funding in these districts.


The unlimited appetite of the MSBA for taxpayer money would turn seniors out of their homes; high property taxes would eventually depress home prices, stealing further from middle class homeowners whose wealth is mainly tied to homeownership.


Further on Page 2, the MSBA advocates for increased state funding to provide free early childhood education programs. Again, every single proposal to this point is to ask for increased funding from federal, state, and local taxes. By providing "free" programs, local small business owners who provide childcare and educational programs would be driven out of business.


Under Appropriation Priorities on P. 2, the MSBA calls for mandated programs to be "equitably" funded with state and federal resources, and not with funds "redirected from existing programs." Further, the MSBA "strongly opposes any attempt to divert revenue committed to or intended for public education." In other words, they want all the money and they will oppose the ability of our elected officials from making decisions that save taxpayer money or utilize funds in a way that voters see fit.


Further, the MSBA wants to give school districts low-interest loans during "difficult financial times," supports an amendment that permits the "increase of a school district's bonding capacity to 20 percent, as well as an amendment for allowing "the passage of school bond issues by a simple majority vote."


The MSBA's advocacy positions go on, P. 3. The organization supports giving school districts more options for "raising local revenue, including sales taxes." Yes, they now want a piece of the sales tax pie. I hope local elected officials are aware.


And, the MSBA doesn't think school districts should have to pay state motor fuel taxes for school buses, as well as simultaneously supporting an increase of the motor fuel tax in Missouri for everyone else. You can't make this stuff up.


Naturally, the MSBA opposes the use of "vouchers, tax credits, deductions for tuition and related educational expenses, and other similar credit systems to support nonpublic K-12 schools." In other words, taxpayers who already support the public school system are not going to get a break when they choose to educate their children outside the public school system.  This seems also to be a direct attack on SB190, which is a bill designed to give tax relief to older homeowners who have paid into the school districts for decades and who are suffering from high property taxes that threaten their ability to remain in their homes.


Under M. Property Tax Abatement, the MSBA wants laws to be strengthened that give school districts "greater control over their duly authorized revenue sources." You see, the taxpayer cannot be in control. The school district is the master, while the taxpayer is the servant.


In fact, the MSBA thinks school boards should have legal standing when tax abatement programs for residential building projects are considered, to the point that they may "participate in all phases of the process...[and] shall have veto power over their portion of any tax abatement project."


And, the MSBA wants school districts to receive a portion of funds when tax-abated properties are sold. Additionally, in their sick desire for more of your tax dollars, the MSBA even wants terms like "blight" and "conservation" to be "redefined in a more restrictive manner."


On P. 4, the MSBA even wants to mandate "accurate legal property assessments and practices to ensure comparable assessment and practices throughout the state." Again, this is centralizing power and control so that taxing entities are no longer in local hands, but must answer to state rules and guidelines.


And this is just rich: "The MSBA supports legislation that would require county officials to certify a school district's assessed valuation in a more timely fashion in order to comply with state law regarding the setting of tax rates." Got that, commissioners? The MSBA want the State whip coming down on you.


On P. 4 Under School Facilities, the MSBA wants to establish legislation that gives school districts more state and federal funding for renovation and construction of school facilities, "including funding to support sustainable development and the accommodation of the latest technologies." Again, this is a call for centralizing power in state and federal hands through the purse strings. And the word "sustainable" is another communist buzzword.


Under Tax Credits on P. 4, the MSBA calls for the capping of "potential reductions of state revenue." They even support suspending "issuance of all tax credits until the statutory funding obligations of the state are met." What do you wanna bet the taxpayer would never see another tax credit implemented?


Deregulating utilities is also a big no-no for the MSBA, since it might have an adverse impact on school district funding.


So, that four full pages of finances. The next section is Instruction and is two pages. One can see the priority, eh?

The conclusion so far is that the MSBA is a purely communist entity that should be strenuously opposed by all local school boards.




On P. 5 Under Instruction, the MSBA says it "recognizes that the purpose of public education is to improve the achievement of all students and help every student reach his or her potential." This is a fatuous statement. There is no actual measurable that is indicated. What kind of "achievement" is being suggested? What kind of potential?


Under A. on P. 5, the MSBA wants to expand funding for the A+ Scholarship Program so that costs for Advanced Placement testing and expenses "associated with post-secondary degrees and certifications" are covered for students. This means paying for part of the student's college costs while still in high school. Again, this is an egregious expansion of funding that burdens taxpayers.


Then we move on to B. Academic Integrity. The whole of the sentence states, "MSBA supports all districts requiring the highest standards of academic integrity." This is a throwaway line designed to make the casual reader feel good while promising nothing. What are the highest standards of academic integrity? How is that quantified in a way that is measurable?


  1. Accreditation System. Here the MSBA advocates for a "statewide accreditation system that reflects high standards and provides for local flexibility in improving student achievement." It further states that any school receiving state funding, whether directly or indirectly should be under the state accreditation system. Again, this is a centralization of state control. No standards are actually listed, but it does provide for local flexibility. This may be akin to something I saw in the Clever School District, in which students are allowed to retake state tests in the hopes of getting a higher score. The better of the two scores will count.


  1. Curriculum Decisions. Here the MSBA pays lip service to local control, but only as long as curriculum decisions on the local level meet or exceed state and national standards. Further it states the curriculum "must be inclusive to educate the whole student." What does that mean? Why the use of the word "inclusive"? Again, DEI.


The MSBA then states that it desires local autonomy in the development of "curricular goals and objectives," and opposed legislation that would mandate or prohibit specific curricular content. Let's unpack that. A local school district can come up with goals and objectives for learning standards and curriculum, but it cannot mandate or prohibit specific content. Again, how much control does a local school district have if it cannot mandate or prohibit the content of its curriculum?


Under G. Emergency Guidelines, the MSBA "urges DESE" to come up with guidelines for local school districts in the event of a state of emergency. This is purportedly to transition to a hybrid method of instruction, or a "full alternative method of instruction" if an emergency were declared and in-school instruction was again canceled. Again, this takes local control away and substitutes state guidelines.


The MSBA then goes on to advocate for legislation that would provide instructional funds to educate students who have been removed from the school or who are unable to attend school. More taxpayer money. So, MSBA wants school districts to collect money for students who have been kicked out of school or who "cannot" attend.


The insanity continues. Under I. Internet Access, MSBA supports state and federal efforts to provide "all students access to affordable and reliable high-speed internet where they reside...[and] believes that this issue is a priority that demands immediate resolution."


The MSBA goes on to advocate for standardized kindergarten readiness assessments. Who will provide the assessments? Further, the MSBA supports "collaborative partnerships" for early childhood education, including existing programs, school district preschools, contracted service programs and community-based programs. All of these are most likely government or NGO programs that exist off taxpayer dollars. Again, this is a centralization of educational control under one large umbrella.


Further, the MSBA pushes for standards and licensure requirements for all public preschools, as well as "full certification for all Missouri preschool teachers." More control over who can teach our children. MSBA also supports a "voluntary, free and equitable preschool program" for all Missouri families. More DEI language.


Under M. Student Assessments, the MSBA pushes for legislation that requires the state and federal governments to "fully fund the costs of mandated student assessment programs." Once again, federal control means local servitude.


Under N. Student Behavior and Discipline, the MSBA wants increased funding for "discipline models" that encourage "positive behavior supports, avoid out-of-school suspensions, and allow school districts to customize discipline" of individual students. In other words, they want every student in school, regardless of behavioral problems. Doesn't every school already have the ability to customize discipline based on the individual? Why is this being codified? I would posit that DEI is being deployed.


Under O. Student Retention, the MSBA opposes "legislative mandates to retain students in a particular grade level when the final decision is not made by trained educators." This appears to be a DEI tactic to pass kids to the next grade regardless of objective grades and standards. Dumbing down kids has already been going on for awhile now. This simply codifies that a "trained" educator can overrule any and all objective standards of testing.




Part III. Personnel


Now we move on to Part III. Personnel, P. 9


Here we see the MSBA advocating for the revision of state statutes to give school districts the ability to put employees on "paid administrative leave." One can only imagine why.


Next, the MSBA urges the State Board of Education to "provide greater flexibility in certifying professional educators..."


Collective bargaining is next up. The MSBA wants legislation that "clarifies" district responsibilities and subjects of bargaining.


Here is an egregious abrogation of free speech rights on the part of teachers in D. Disruptive Speech. "MSBA believes that districts should be able to hold an employee responsible when his or her speech materially disrupts the educational environment or district operations, regardless of whether such speech is spoken or written and whether it occurs in person, electronically, or on or off of schools grounds."


This type of censorship should be roundly condemned by school employees, school board members, as well as the public.


In G. Immunity, the MSBA has the gall to support legislation "providing legal immunity for school employees and volunteers acting with the scope and course of their employment and service."






In IV. School, Community and Family Relations, P. 11 the MSBA has the utter hubris to say it "believes that boards of education, families and communities are ultimately responsible for the academic achievement of students in their district."


Are teachers to have no responsibility for the students they teach for six or more hours a day? Are superintendents to have no responsibility for district students' academic achievements? What are they, simply zookeepers?


Naturally, the MSBA then advocates for increased access and state and federal funding for "comprehensive school health services, including mental health services and counseling, for students and their families."


Schools have been doing such a great job with comprehensive health services, that suicide is at an all-time high, students are more depressed than ever, and bullying is an out-of-control issue. Instead of looking to the current methods and systems in place, the MSBA again asks for more of what is already a failure. Again, more state and federal funding means less local control.


Here is a very problematic point, C. Custody of Students. "MSBA supports clarification of state statutes related to the custody of individual students so that school personnel know which persons the district may release a student to and when the district may refuse to release a child to a biological parent or guardian."


This could potentially align with gender ideology and may allow children to be removed from parents who are not in line with transitioning, such as in California.


Under F. Immunizations, the MSBA supports the mandated vaccination of all children who attend public schools, from early childhood onward, unless there is a medically documented reason or a "sincerely-held religious reason to excuse the student." It goes on to suggest that districts should receive additional funding from the state to provide "alternative education options to unimmunized children who are removed from school by the Department of Health and Senior Services when exposed to a contagious disease."


Exactly what does that mean? If measles or chicken pox is going through a school, does the health department have the right to remove an unimmunized student? It is well documented that vaccinated children often fall victim to the very diseases they have been immunized against, so this seems to be an intimidation tactic on the part of the MSBA.


Under I. Safe Schools, the MSBA implementing and funding a "single, statewide reporting system" that would purportedly encourage the public to share safety concerns, assist districts to analyze safety concerns, and connect school districts with other local agencies.


Once more, this is a centralization of power and control, as well as clearinghouse for collecting data.


The MSBA also wants to designate a "state school safety coordinator," as well as funding "for the design and construction of school facilities and grounds so that school districts can better screen visitors, control who has access to students and ensure student and staff safety while at school."


And the MSBA wants to require that students must stay in school until age 18 or upon graduation with a high school diploma.


More state control and centralization. Do we want school design and facilities to resemble prisons?





Moving on to V. School Board Governance and Operations, P. 15.


According to the MSBA, schools boards:

  1. Set the vision for school districts
  2. Establish structures
  3. Adopt policies
  4. Hire the superintendent
  5. Engage in advocacy of students and schools.
  6. Board members should participate in continuing education.


Exactly what does "establish structures mean? Is the board responsible for the "business" aspects of the school, like finances? Should boards not simply adopt policies, but formulate policies? In fact, this description of school board duties seems almost to be an honorary position rather than truly representing the voting public in the running of school districts.


MSBA goes on to oppose a "reduction in the number of dates available to school districts for bond and levy elections."


Naturally, they would want as many dates as possible in which to have bond and levy elections. Tax dollars forever!


In a very troubling section, G. Home Schooling, the MSBA wants legislation to "require parents of children attending home schools to annually notify the district where such children reside."


This is government overreach. It is none of the public school's business where homeschooling children reside.


On P. 16, the MSBA again advocates for state and federal legislation that protects school districts, school boards and employees from liability "when acting in good faith."


Under J. Local School District Control, MSBA again pays lip service to local control. However, everything in the Handbook up until this moment has been a hard advocacy of state and federal control of local schools.


Under Q. School Board Member Recall, the MSBA actually opposes legislation "that allows for the recall of local school board members."


This amounts to ensuring that a school board member, no matter how problematic, cannot be removed except by election. Additionally, the MSBA opposes term limits for school board members!


The MSBA goes on to support required training and to support legislation that would "create consequences for failing to obtain mandatory school board member training."


And who does the training? The MSBA of course.


And the MSBA wants DESE to make public the names of school board members who have been trained as required by law; supports legislation that requires DESE to make sure training meets state requirements and lastly, supports requiring funding for school board member training "provided exclusively by the Missouri School Boards' Association.


Under W. Sunshine Law, MSBA is keen to make it more difficult for the public to obtain information. Basically, the MSBA wants to allow districts to recoup the cost of record production and limit financial penalties to "situations where public entities intentionally violated the law." Also, it wants to allow districts to close records relating to emergency operation plans "for any type of emergency where the district determines that public knowledge could compromise safety and security." And, it wants legislation that "would allow for reports made to the school safety hotline to be closed."


This gives great discretion and leeway to a school district to determine what the public has a right to know regarding its policies, procedures, and so on. It is essentially promoting a lack of transparency for parents and taxpayers.


Under Y. Use of Public Funds in Relation to a Ballot Issue, the MSBA supports a revision of state law "to allow school boards to use district funds to communicate to the public the reasons for putting a bond and levy issue on the budget."


This seems like an allowance for the school district to use public funds to lobby for getting...more funds



Under D. Elementary and Secondary Education ACT (ESEA), also Known as Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), we see DEI as a driving force for supporting even more legislation and regulation to: “Avoid stigmatizing groups of students” in poorly performing school districts, and to “Fully fund, at federal and state levels, the ESEA programs” that the MSBA wants to impose on student populations through legislation.


Additionally under D., the MSBA opposes the use of “competitive grants to distribute funding for Title I...and support a method of equitable distribution of funding.”  In other words, this is a classic redistribution of wealth under the guise of DEI.


Also, the MSBA is opposed to the use of “high-stakes assessments that do not conform to an accepted set of accessibility standards.” This is more DEI. High performance students and schools are to be brought to a lower and more “accepted set of accessibility standards.” I think they call it “dumbing us down.”


When the MSBA does approve of local control, such as its advocacy of local “flexibility in the ESEA”, and redefining accountability to entities such as “state education agencies,” what it seems to be doing is allowing for failing schools to adjust assessments in order to meet some kind of equity standards.

All in all, there is almost four pages dealing with Federal Governmental Issues, which points to greater centralized control of schools.