Under new plan, Missouri parents can claim tax deductions for private school tuition

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Many Missouri parents are just learning about a perk included in the new federal tax plan concerning private school tuition.

Part of the massive tax overhaul allows families to use 529 college savings plans for K-12 private education.

“We’re excited about it for sure,” said Nan Bone, president of St. Teresa’s Academy, an all-girls private high school in Kansas City.

Bone said interest from parents is already stirring.

“We actually had one parent call and say ‘I’m looking into this. We’re sending our daughter, and I want to know a little more about it,'” Bone said.

In addition, Missouri families can withdraw from a 529 plan without a tax penalty and a deduction on their state income taxes.

State lawmakers in Kansas have yet to enact a similar plan in that state.

In Missouri, public education advocates fear the new perk will come at the cost of public schools.

“That is money that otherwise would have been collected by the government but is not,” said Susan Goldammer with the Missouri School Board Association.

“It’s the same thing as if the government is paying it directly, and if we’re going to give a break to a particular industry or company, or in this case private schooling, taxpayers really need to feel comfortable at those folks are accountable.”