More than one-fourth of Missouri’s school districts are considered financially stressed and that number is likely to go up in a few weeks. About 150 of Missouri’s school districts are considered financially stressed, meaning they have less than two months of reserve funds. Districts will tell the State Education Department shortly after the new fiscal year starts July 1st, how they’re doing. The Education Department expects reductions in state aid will mean more districts will be in financial trouble. Associate Education Commissioner Jerri Ogle thinks more districts will have fewer reserves. It does not necessarily mean districts are going to close – although some could. Districts considered “stressed” must show the department how they’ll improve. Ogle says parents need to be paying attention if their district becomes stressed. The state can’t shut down a school in financial trouble. But Ogle says financially shaky districts often make cuts that reduce education quality and if the education quality drops enough, then the state can close the district.
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