A new bill pending in Jefferson City would end city residency requirements for firefighters after they've put in seven years of service. The bill mirrors a law passed a few years ago relieving veteran city police officers of city residency requirements. The stated purpose for the change is to give families of firefighters the freedom to move out of the city so their children have the opportunity to enroll in higher performing public school districts.
Does this mean that soon the state will follow the same logic and propose the end of residency requirements for all city employees? If the goal of the state is to offer city school-aged children better educational options, why should the effort be limited to children of city employees?
Aside from the irony that city employees are relieved of residency requirements to seek better public school options (while non-government employee city residents are given no special consideration), shouldn't the goal of the state be to ensure that all its residents have the best educational opportunities, regardless of where they live or for whom they work?
Rather than lift city residency requirements for city employees, what about changing the rules so that all city residents are allowed to enroll their children in schools outside the city? That single change to public policy would answer once and for all the decades old objection that "we'd love to live in the city except for the public schools".
For parents of city school children who enroll their kids in private schools (while paying taxes to fund the city schools), why not allow some or all of private elementary and high school tuition to be tax deductible for families living in school districts with underperforming public schools?