Changes in the way Missouri funds public education are inevitable, in the minds of lawmakers. The question is, “When? The perfect system has been sought time after time, but never found. Lawmakers know the present system has flaws. A joint legislative committee has been studying how to fix them. Representatives and Senators on the committee agree one of several answers is a big increase in money. Senate Education Chairman Rose Ann Bentley of Springfield knows this is not the year. The state is short of the amount lawmakers say will be needed to meet present commitments. A rising issue is “adequacy” of funding. The state does not have a definition of adequacy. Some committee members think it might take as much as one-half billion dollars to get school funding to the adequate level. But they don’t think voters would support a tax increase that big at the same time they’re being asked to hike taxes for transportation. And right now, transportation comes first.
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