Within days, the final report of a proposal to improve funding adequacy and equity of Missouri’s public schools will be on its way to a legislative education committee. The report is the work of Craig Wood, a University of Florida professor of education finance hired by the State to study the problems with the current funding formula and to come up with alternatives. Wood says with no increase in appropriations for public schools, the only way to achieve equity is to cut back on state funding of well-to-do districts and to increase the funding of the poorer districts. But, he believes increased revenues – higher taxes – would be preferable to what critics call the Robin Hood approach of taking from the rich to give to the poor. Although not a formal part of the report, Wood suggests lawmakers might consider moving away from property taxes to income and / or sales taxes – or even a combination of allthree – as the primary source of school dollars at the local level. The final report will be delivered tomorrow or Thursday.
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